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Pumpkin Crème Brûlée

12 Seasons CookbookThis is one of the recipes that has been provided by Shirley Cline from San Fransisco. Shirley said "This was prepared on the Today Show this morning by Alfred Portale and looked absolutely wonderful. I thought it looked good enough to post".

For information about Alfred Portale's 12 Seasons Cookbook or to find out more about him have a look at his biography page.

"While pumpkin pie deserves great respect as a Thanksgiving dessert, it’s fun to shake up tradition and impress your friends with this sophisticated variation. The burnt sugar top tastes especially delicious with the sweetly spiced pumpkin cream. Thinking ahead: These custards can be made a day in advance." ~ Alfred Portale


Brûlée Sugar:
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream
10 tablespoons sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
9 large egg yolks
3/4 cup unseasoned canned pumpkin purée


Brûlée Sugar:
Preheat the oven to 250°F.  Combine the sugars, mixing well to integrate evenly. Spread on a baking sheet and dry in the oven for about 1 hour. Transfer to a blender and process to a fine powder. Set aside, covered, and store in a cool dry place at room temperature for up to a week.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  In a saucepan, combine the milk, cream, sugar, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and nutmeg over medium heat until hot but not boiling. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly. Cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes. 

Remove the cinnamon stick. Whisk in the egg yolks, mixing until smooth. Add the pumpkin puree, whisking until well blended. Strain the custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl.  Pour the custard into eight 4-ounce ramekins. Set the ramekins in a shallow roasting pan or baking pan and put in the oven. Pour enough hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the custards are set around the edges but still a little shaky in the center. 

Carefully remove the pan from the oven. Remove ramekins from the water bath and let the custards cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight. 

Preheat the broiler, or better yet, use a small propane torch designed for kitchen use.  Remove the plastic wrap and sprinkle each custard with BRULÉE sugar. Broil for 30 to 60 seconds, until the sugar caramelizes, or hold the torch over the sugar to caramelize it. Serve immediately. 

Variations: Acorn, butternut squash, and sweet potatoes make fine substitutes for the pumpkin puree.

Serves 8

Shirley Cline