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Pumpkin Crème Brulee

Photo: California Milk Advisory Board
From: Chef Jose Luis Ugalde. Yield: 12 servings.

1 pumpkin (about 3 lb.), seeded and quartered
pinch of salt
2 Tbsp. light brown sugar, plus ¾ cup for caramelizing
1 qt. heavy cream
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground cloves
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
½ cup maple syrup
½ cup condensed milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
12 egg yolks

Place pumpkin on a sheet pan; rub with salt and 2 Tbsp. brown sugar. Cover with foil and bake in a 350°F oven for 30 to 45 minutes, or until completely cooked. Cool; remove pumpkin meat from shell. Pulse in food processor until chopped to a paste. In a saucepan, combine 2 cups pumpkin with heavy cream and spices. Bring to a simmer over low heat. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl, pressing on pumpkin with a spatula to maximize pumpkin flavor. Discard pumpkin.

Add maple syrup, condensed milk and vanilla. Whisk to combine. Temper egg yolks by adding a cup of cream mixture to them. Mix thoroughly and pour tempered yolks back into the cream mixture. Mix well; pour about ½ cup cream mixture into each of 12 crème brulee dishes. Tightly cover each dish individually with plastic wrap. Arrange dishes on a sheet pan; pour a ½” layer of water into sheet pan. Bake in a 250°F oven for 20 to 30 minutes, or until barely set. Cool completely. Spread 1 Tbsp. brown sugar on top of each crème brulee. Caramelize with a torch, or heat a large spoon directly over the stove flame and pass over sugar until caramelized.

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