Pumpkin Creme Brulee

I am definitely on overload with pumpkin recipes!  It is the season, tho and I so love incorporating pumpkin into my Fall meals.  Plus pumpkin is nutrient rich; high in antioxidants, vitamin and minerals.  A colorful addition to eating a rainbow of fruits and veggies.

Pumpkin pie will always remain on my Thanksgiving menu as I am a traditional kind of girl.  It’s a pie that I only make on Thanksgiving.  On the days surrounding the holiday this dessert is like a pre-pumpkin pie tease.  Creme brulee is a great make ahead dessert, portion controlled served in its own little cup, like a holiday gift, and the crunchy sugar topping provide just enough sweetness to the creamy filling.

Pumpkin Crème Brulee

Serves 8

Recipe Adapted from Emeril Lagasse

 2 cups heavy cream

¼ cup light brown sugar

¼ cup sugar, plus 4 teaspoons

8 large egg yolks

½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ teaspoon pumpkin liquor (optional)

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg

1 cup mashed cooked pumpkin

 Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Arrange 8 (1/2 cup) ramekins or custard cups in a large metal baking dish.

 In a medium saucepan, combine the cream, brown sugar and ¼ cup sugar.  Bring to a light simmer over medium high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.  Remove from the heat.

 In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks until frothy and lemon colored.  Slowly add ¾ cup fo the hot cream mixture, whisking constantly. Add the egg mixture to the remaining hot cream and whisk.  Add the vanilla, optional liquor, cinnamon, nutmeg and pumpkin and whisk until smooth.  Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl.  Divide mixture among the ramekins.

 Add enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the cups.  Bake until the custards are just set in the center but not stiff, about 45 to 55 minutes.  Remove from the oven and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 3 hours or overnight.

 Sprinkle each custard with ½ teaspoon of the remaining sugar.  Using a kitchen torch, caramelize the sugar (or preheat the broiler and broil until the sugar melts and caramelizes, watching closely to avoid burning, about 1 to 2 minutes.  Place on small dessert plates and serve.

I love being in the kitchen. Early mornings, soft music, a hot espresso. Easing into the preparation of delicious meals. Glancing through cookbooks, gathering inspiration and planning my day. I look forward to the cycles of the seasons, the pleasures of tasting and savoring and sharing this with those dear to me. Weekends are special to me as my week days are often rushed, but still I create the ambiance, light the candles, set the table and uncork the wine.

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