If classic crème caramel is comforting, then this pumpkin crème caramel recipe is the ultimate comfort food. Pureed pumpkin and aromatic spices warm up the flavor of this already soothing, velvety-smooth dessert. The secret ingredient, a hint of maple syrup, gives an almost indiscernible rustic note to the sophisticated dish. The finished result is absolutely fantastic at a stylish dinner party or after a casual family supper.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon (pinch) ground cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon (pinch) ground ginger
- 7 large eggs, beaten
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Boiling water
In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt and caramelize 1/2 cup of the sugar. Shake the pan occasionally to stir the sugar and evenly distribute the color. The sugar is caramelized when it has turned a uniform light tan color. Evenly divide the caramel between 8 ovenproof ramekins. Swirl the caramel inside each ramekin to coat the sides and bottoms completely. Arrange the ramekins in a 1 1/2-inch to 2-inch deep baking pan.
Preheat and oven to 325F. In a clean saucepan over medium heat, stir together the milk, cream, pumpkin, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger just until it begins to scald, about 5 to 7 minutes. Do not allow the liquid to simmer or boil at any time. Remove the pan from the heat and press the mixture through a medium-mesh sieve or strainer, discarding the large solids. Return the pumpkin-cream mixture to the pan and set it aside for a moment.
Stir together the remaining 3/4 cup sugar and the eggs. Allow the sugar-egg mixture to rest for 5 minutes. Slowly add 2/3 cup of the hot pumpkin-cream mixture to the eggs, whisking constantly. Stirring constantly, add the tempered eggs and pumpkin-cream back into the hot- pumpkin cream in the saucepan. Stir in the salt and vanilla extract.
Carefully pour the hot pumpkin-egg mixture into the ramekins. Pour boiling water into the pan holding the ramekins until the water level reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake the custard for 30 to 35 minutes, until the custard is just set. (Overcooking will remove the silky texture for which crème au caramel is famous.) Remove from the oven and allow the ramekins to cool in the water bath for 5 minutes. Remove from the water and cool the custard at room temperature for 20 minutes.
Run an offset spatula or butter knife around the edges of each ramekin and invert the custards onto serving plates. Serve them at room temperature or chill for up to a day before serving.
This pumpkin crème caramel recipe makes 8 servings.