Pumpkin Creme Brulee


A light and smooth Thanksgiving treat that may be prepared 2 days ahead. Evaporated milk may be used equally as well as whipping cream with fewer calories.

Yield: makes eight 6-ounce servings (may be halved for 4 servings)


  • 3 cups whipping cream (or evaporated milk)
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin (no spices)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar


  1. One day before beginning the recipe, spread the brown sugar on a parchment-lined tray to dry out.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Boil water for baking the custards. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat cream over medium heat until steaming. You’ll see tiny bubbles around the edge of the pan.
  3. In a glass pitcher or large measuring cup, whisk together egg yolks, pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg. Gradually whisk in cream. Whisk in vanilla. Skim off foam, if any.
  4. Divide mixture among eight 6-ounce ramekins or custard cups. Place the custard cups in 2 large shallow pans and pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the custard cups/ramekins. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes or until edges are set and center is still jiggly. A knife inserted in the center should come out creamy. Remove custard cups from water and let cool on racks to room temperature. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set, about 6 hours or overnight.
  5. An hour before serving, place custards on a large pan surrounded by ice (this prevents the custards from melting when broiling the topping). Pat tops dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over tops and broil 6 inches from heat until sugar bubbles and darkens. Watch carefully, as they burn. Or use a blowtorch to quickly and evenly caramelize tops, holding the flame 2 to 3 inches from the surface. For an extra crunchy top, repeat the process.