Pumpkin Creme Brûlée is a wonderful way to enjoy pumpkins when they are in season and it tastes like the custard of a pumpkin pie but with the bonus of that delicious hard sugar creme brûlée crust. This is such an easy pumpkin creme brûlée recipe and I will walk you through all of the steps to make this easy and delicious Fall and Winter dessert.
About this Pumpkin Creme Brûlée
I love all types of Fall desserts and drinks and this pumpkin creme brulee is one of my favorites. Every Fall this pumpkin creme brulee, mulled apple cider and my spiced pear martini are on rotation because of the Fall pumpkin spice vibes they have.
If you have never made creme brûlée before, it is actually a lot easier than you may think. The only part of this pumpkin creme brûlée recipe that requires you to do something beyond mixing is when you make a water bath.
This is just pouring hot water into a large roasting pan that your ramekins are sitting in. I will walk you through how to do that and I promise it is really easy.
The base of this easy pumpkin creme brûlée is my tried and true recipe for vanilla creme brûlée. I have adjusted the sugar only a little bit so if you are interested in a classic vanilla version just omit the pumpkin.
If you want to make this pumpkin custard even prettier, you can make sugared cranberries to garnish the tops. I like to do this when I make these for the holidays.
Ingredients Needed for this Pumpkin Creme Brûlée
- Canned pumpkin (or fresh pumpkin puree). Do not use pumpkin pie filling/puree.
- Heavy cream.
- Egg Yolks
- Granulated Sugar
- Demerara Sugar (this is for the topping and I will go into more detail about this below).
- Vanilla extract
- Cinnamon (ground)
- Nutmeg (ground)
When choosing your ingredients for this pumpkin brulee recipe, make sure you use the best quality you can find, especially with the eggs. Since there are a lot of egg yolks in this recipe, the higher the quality, the better the recipe will taste.
The same holds true for the type of vanilla extract you use. Try to find a good quality vanilla extract and do not use imitation vanilla.
There are two types of sugar in this recipe. Granulated sugar which is your everyday sugar, is used for the custard portion of the recipe.
Best sugar for creme brulee
Demerara sugar is used for the crust topping. After years of having issues getting a nice crust on my creme brûlée when using superfine sugar, I decided to switch to demerara which is a more raw form of sugar.
The demerara sugar always produces a nice beautiful crust in seconds. So, if you have struggled with making a crust on your creme brûlée in the past, this sugar will fix that.
How to make Pumpkin Creme Brulee
- Mix: Here you are just mixing all of the ingredients in a large bowl and then you pour it into your ramekins. Place the ramekins first inside your roasting pan before you pour in the custard.
- Prepare the Roasting Pan and Ramekins: Place the roasting pan with the ramekins in the oven. Now pour hot water (I use a kettle for this) into the roasting pan until the water comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins. A water bath helps gently cook the pumpkin custard and helps prevent cracking.
- Bake: Close the oven door and bake the creme brulee until it sets and is not jiggly any more.
- Cool: Just let the pumpkin custards that came out of the oven cool completely on the counter before refrigerating them.
- Torch: Right before serving, remove the pumpkin custards from the fridge and sprinkle on your demerrara sugar. Use a creme brûlée torch to burn the sugar which creates a nice crust.
How to know when creme brulee is done
There are several ways to know when your pumpkin creme brulee is done baking. You can use one of these methods or all:
- Temperature: Creme brulee is done baking when it reaches 170 degrees. You can use an instant read thermometer to check this.
- Jiggle: My favorite way to check for doneness is to do the jiggle test. If you lightly shake the creme brulee it should jiggle uniformly all at once.
- Visual appearance: This is the hardest way to tell if the pumpkin creme brulee is done baking but it can be done! If the creme brulee looks shiny wet, it is not done baking. If the whole top of the creme brulee looks opaque and the same in color but not wet, it is most likely done. I still refer to the jiggle test after this.
If you have over cooked your creme brulee, the edges will look like crust and not the same as the center of the creme brulee. Remember that creme brulee firms up with the chilling time so you want the entire pumpkin custard to be jiggly when you take it out of the oven.
Choosing Ramekins for your Creme Brulee
The size and shape of your ramekins is going to determine the baking time of your creme brulee. This recipe uses a slightly deeper ramekin that is circular in shape.
Another common ramekin for creme brulee is a shallow oval shaped ramekin. If you do decide to use this type of ramekin, make sure to adjust down the baking time and use the jiggle test for determining doneness.
Creme Brulee Variations
To make a vanilla creme brûlée
Just omit the pumpkin portion of the recipe.
How to make other creme brûlée flavors
You can omit the pumpkin and vanilla in this recipe to make other delicious creme brûlée variations.
Some ideas are:
- Orange creme brûlée by using orange extract in place of vanilla.
- Snickerdoodle creme brûlée. Just omit the pumpkin in this recipe and keep the cinnamon and nutmeg for a delicious snickerdoodle flavor.
Faqs about this Fall Pumpkin Spice Creme Brulee
If you do not have a creme brûlée torch, you can easily use a long grill lighter and use the flame of the lighter to make contact with the sugar to burn it into a crust.
Alternatively, you can use the broiler method where you place the creme brûlée on to a sheet pan and place under a broiler on high until the sugar starts to melt and brown. Watch them carefully when doing this so they do not burn.
Creme brulee is chilled until the sugar top is torched. When the brulee portion is done, the creme brulee will be room temperature.
Technically you can but it is not advised. Freezing any type of dairy will cause the cream to separate which affects the texture of the creme brulee.
More Fall Recipes
If you love this pumpkin creme brulee recipe, you may also like these:
More Fall and Pumpkin Recipes:
Pumpkin Creme Brûlée Recipe
Tried the Recipe? We Would Love To Hear From You In The Comments Below!
- 6 Ramekins: 3.5 wide x 1.5 deep
- 2 cups Heavy cream
- ⅓ cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ½ cup pumpkin puree
- ¼ cup demerara sugar for the crust
- 8 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Pre-heat your oven to 325 degrees.
- In a large bowl, add your granulated sugar and egg yolks and mix until it becomes a pale yellow color.
- Now add in your heavy cream, pumpkin puree, cinnamon and nutmeg and mix well.
- Grab 6 ramekins. I use ramekins that are 3 ½ inches wide and 1 ½ inches high and holds about 5 ½ ounces.
- Place your ramekins inside a large roasting dish.
- Fill a tea kettle or pot with water and bring to a boil.
- Place the roasting pan with ramekins inside your oven.
- Pour the hot water inside the roasting pan while it is in the oven making sure to fill with enough water so the water comes half way up the sides of the ramekins.
- Cook the custards for 40-50 minutes or until the very center of the custards jiggles just a very little bit.
- Once they are ready, carefully remove the roasting pan from the oven and place on the counter.
- Allow the custards to cool inside the water bath.
- Once the custards are completely cool, remove them from the water bath and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours to chill.
Making the sugar crust
- Sprinkle 1 heaping teaspoon of your demerara sugar evenly over the top of your custard.
- Using a creme brûlée torch, torch the tops by using a back and forthe motion with the flame until the sugar strats to brown and bubble.
- Do this until all the sugar is melted.
- Serve immediately after making the crust.
Nutrition Values are estimates only.See full nutrition disclaimer here