To me, Autumn is almost synonymous to pumpkin spice. Try as I may to deny pumpkin spice and its various incarnations that plague the season of falling leaves and bountiful harvests, I still see it advertised on every corner of any street that houses a coffee shop. So I listened to the old adage: if you can’t beat them, join them. And joined them, I did.
Made these last week as my contribution to a Thanksgiving dinner my co-worker was hosting. Creme Brulee is actually quite an easy dessert to make which makes it all the more rewarding when you’re enjoying a spoonful of that silky, creamy custard and that delightful sweet crunch from the burnt sugar. A good creme brulee has a silky texture with a burnt sugar topping that can be easily cracked with a light tap of the spoon. My Autumn version of this dessert is inspired by Emeril Lagasse with a Canadian flair (read: I added maple sugar, AND incorporated influences from around the world to reflect my country’s cultural diversity).
The roasted pumpkin spiced pepitas are also deeeelicious on its own and works wonderfully when you combine a bit of chocolate and dried cranberries to make a trail mix.
Photo credit goes to Next to Wild Photography, check them out at: http://www.nexttowild.com
Here you have it! Enjoy another Nommy Noms recipe!
Pumpkin Spiced Creme Brulee
Yields: 8 medium sized ramekins (about 1/2 cup volume)
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 4 tbsp golden brown sugar
- 4 tbsp maple sugar (may substitute with light brown sugar if unavailable)
- 1/4 cup white sugar, plus 4 teaspoons
- 8 large egg yolks
- 1/2 tsp madagascar bourbon vanilla (or good quality vanilla)
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp grated nutmeg
- 1 cup mashed pumpkin
- Roasted pumpkin spiced pumpkin seeds (recipe below)
- 1/3 cup Pomegranate seeds
- 4 Blackberries cut in half for garnish
The Fun Part:
- Preheat the oven to 325 F and place ramekins in a baking pan.
- Add cream, golden brown sugar, maple sugar and 1/4 cup of white sugar together in a saucepan and place over medium-high heat until simmering, stirring occasionally with a spatula to dissolve sugars.
- While cream and sugars are heating up, whisk egg yolks in a mixing bowl until it turns a light, lemony colour. When cream-and-sugar mixture begins to simmer and all the sugar is dissolved, remove the saucepan from heat. Temper the egg yolks by adding 3/4 cup of the hot cream-and-sugar mixture in a slow, steady stream while whisking the yolks. Constant mixing and gradual pouring is crucial to prevent cooking the yolks!
- Once this is done, return the egg mixture to the remaining hot cream-and-sugar mixture in the saucepan. Do so in a gradual steady stream, while whisking.
Add the vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pumpkin, and whisk until smooth. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl. Divide among the prepared ramekins.
- Add enough hot water to come halfway up the walls of the ramekins. For an easy way to remove any bubbles on the surface, use a kitchen torch and lightly torch the surface of the custards to remove any froth or bubbles.
- Bake until the custards are just set in the center but not stiff, 35-55 minutes. Remove from the oven and refrigerate until chilled, at least 3 hours or overnight.
- Prepare roasted pumpkin spiced pumpkin seeds while dessert is chilling (Recipe below).
- When custard is cooled, sprinkle each custard with 1/2 teaspoon of sugar. Make sure that the layer of sugar is thin and not overly thick to ensure even caramelizing and avoid over-burning the sugar. Using a kitchen torch, caramelize the sugar. If using a professional kitchen torch (not the mini-ones), aim the flame 1-2 inches away from the sugar, and heat using a circular motion. Mini kitchen torches are easier to control and manage.
- Top custard with pumpkin spiced roasted pepitas, pomegranate seeds and a blackberry half. Enjoy!
Roasted Pumpkin Spiced Pepitas
Yields: 2 cups of pepitas
- 2 Cups shelled pepitas (or pumpkin seeds)
- 1/3 Cup white sugar
- 2 Tbsp Maple Sugar
- 1 large egg white, beaten
- 1 generous pinch of salt
- 1 Tbsp pumpkin spice (recipe below)
The Fun Part:
- Preheat oven to 350F. Layer parchment paper over a baking sheet, large enough to fit pepitas on a single layer.
- Mix sugar, salt, spices and pepitas in a bowl, and then add in egg white. Mix well. The pepitas mixture will seem overly wet, but don’t worry, it’s supposed to look like that!
- Transfer pepita mixture onto baking sheet in a single layer, and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
- When golden, remove from oven and let cool for 1-2 minutes. Separate pepitas while still warm. Allow to cool completely and store in an airtight container for up to 2-3 months.
Pumpkin Spice Blend
Yields: About 1/4 cup
- 1/4 cup cinnamon
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 2 tsp grated nutmeg
- 2 tsp ground allspice
- 1 tsp ground cloves
The Fun Part:
- Mix em all together!