Pumpkin-Spiced Creme Brûlée is a fall sensation. Once you crack the wafer-thin sugar shell with a tap of your spoon, you dive into a creamy and silky smooth custard that will delight your taste buds with nuanced fall flavors.How did Pumpkin-Spiced Creme Brûlée come along
All good things start from Italy! At least, this what I think.😀
The recipe of this crème Bruleé is adapted from the cookbook “Tuto L’Ano Con La Cucina Italiana” The book features sweet and savory recipes for the four seasons.
The book has stunning and captivating photos of twisted savory and sweet classic dishes. Seriously, It is an excellent addition to your cookbook collection even if you don’t know a word of Italian. My highly viewed recipe of fried mushrooms is also inspired from the same book.
I bought this book at IBS bookstore. Located in Via Nacionale in Rome, IBS bookstore is a commodious, convivial three-story bookstore with an affable English-speaking staff.
I coincidently stumbled on that charming bookstore while aimlessly wandering the streets of the Eternal City several years ago. My plan was to get a quick view of the place and a breath of fresh cold air. Instead, I spent circa two hours browsing cookbooks, until I fell for this gem.
What is Pumpkin-Spiced Creme Brûlée
Pumpkin-Spiced creme brûlée starts with infusing a classic custard with a handful of whole and fragrant warm fall spices such as cloves, cinnamon, and allspice.
This fall concoction is garnished with a wafter-thin, cinnamon-spiked crisp apple chip, to balance the richness of the creamy interior and adds a touch of class and beauty.
My oval ramequins are sort of shallow, that makes the portion small, and just the right amount to please a sweet tooth.
While the original recipe in the book calls for poached pears, pears chips and tonka beans, I substituted pears with apples, didn’t use any poached fruits in the custard and replaced the hard-to-find tonka beans with fragrant whole allspice and cloves.
How-to make epic Pumpkin-Spiced Créme Bruleé
The elegant appearance of this French dessert belies its simplicity.
In other words, Creme brûlée doesn’t call for advanced skills. However, there are a few techniques (explained below) that facilitate for beginners making this dessert with confidence.
Just follow the steps below and you will be regaled with a restaurant quality dessert.
Heat milk and cream in a medium saucepan, over medium heat, add the whole spices and keep stirring until the milk steams. Don’t let it boil. Turn off the heat, cover the pan, and let spices steep in and impart their flavors for 1 hour.
Beat the eggs and sugar together until light and fluffy. To ensure a silky texture, the warm milk-cream is slowly whisked into egg yolks to temper them, which prevents them from scrambling. Stir in vanilla extract and mix it in well. Remove with a serving slotted spoon the foam that forms on the surface. Strain the custard, using a fine mesh sieve fitted over into a jug. Pour the custard into the ramequins, and place them in a large roasting pan.
Very carefully pour the boiling water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the crème brûlée dishes. Bake until the edges of the custard are set but jiggle in the center, 25 to 30 minutes, taking care not to overcook.
With a spatula or tongs, carefully transfer the dishes to a rack to cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.
Just before serving, remove the plastic wrap and sprinkle one of the custards evenly with 2 to 3 teaspoons sugar. Pass a kitchen torch over the surface until the sugar melts and turns a deep golden brown. Repeat with the remaining custards. Allow the sugar to cool for a few minutes.
Thinly slice the apples, using a mandoline. Coat well the thin apple slices with powdered sugar and cinnamon. Bake it in a preheated 110 C oven for one hour, or until it is crispy and golden.
- Make the custard in advance, but wait to caramelize the topping about 10 minutes before serving.
- The sugar will not hold its signature crunch if subjected to much extra time in a humid refrigerator.
- A kitchen torch is a kitchen tool worth the investment. It does the best job at caramelizing the top without warming the custard, and it’s so fun to use.
- Keep the torch away from children.
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Pumpkin-Spiced Crème Brûlée
Recipe adapted from Tuto L’Ano Con La Cucina Italiana.”
- 1 Granny Smith apple, thinely sliced
- 1 tablespoon icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 300 g milk
- 300 g whipping cream
- 5 cloves
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 4 allspice pearls
- 8 egg yolks
- 100 g sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
- Thinly slice the apples, using a mandoline.
- Coat well the thin apple slices with powdered sugar and cinnamon.
- Bake it in a preheated 110 C oven for one hour, or until it is crispy and golden.
- Preheat oven to 300° F (150°C).
- Heat milk and cream with the spices, in a medium saucepan, over medium heat, stirring once or twice. One it starts to bubble, turn off the heat, cover the saucepan, and let spices steep in and impart their flavors for 30 minutes.
- Beat the eggs and sugar together until light and fluffy.
- Add the warm milk-cream mixture to the egg-sugar mixture gradually, and stir until well combined. Add vanilla or almond extract. Remove, with a serving slotted spoon, the foam that forms on the surface.
- Strain the custard, using a fine mesh sieve, into a jug. Pour the custard into the ramequins, and place them in a large roasting pan.
- Add boiling water to the roasting pan. Water should cover the lower half of the ramequins.
- Bake in a preheated oven for 40- to 50 minutes. Remove from oven when the custard is barely set, but the center is still wobbly.
- Let the custard come to room temperature, and then place the ramequins in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
- 10 minutes before serving, sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of brown sugar (see notes) on top of each ramequin, and caramelize under the broiler, or by it using a torch. Let set it and harden few minutes before serving.
- I prefer light brown sugar over white granulated sugar to caramelize the top as it has more interesting golden hues when it melts.
- To infuse the milk I either use a no-mess metal or a disposable tea infuser.