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Pumpkin Créme Brulee

Pumpkin Créme Brulee

From: Chef/Owner Jose Luis Ugalde, Cafe Gibraltar, El Granada, CA. 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. California 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. Bake in 350°F oven for 30-45 minutes, or until completely cooked. Cool; remove pumpkin meat from shell. Pulse in food processor until chopped to paste. In a saucepan, combine 2 cups pumpkin with heavy cream and spices. Bring to a simmer over low heat; simmer 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 egg yolks. Mix thoroughly and pour back into cream mixture. Mix well; pour about ½ cup cream mixture into each of 12 crème brulée 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 250°F oven for 20-30 minutes, or until barely set. Cool completely. Spread 1 Tbsp. brown sugar on top of each crème brulée. Caramelize with a torch, or heat a large spoon directly over the stove flame and pass over sugar until caramelized.