Pumpkin crème brûlée is dangerously easy to make. Pumpkin crème brûlée is a one-bowl recipe that takes five minutes – tops – to put together and requires only four main ingredients plus some spice. The only time-consuming element in preparing pumpkin crème brûlée is waiting for the brûlée to bake and then waiting for it to chill.
Perhaps some of you are like me and have enjoyed crème brûlée as a restaurant-only dessert. Although I’ve owned a culinary torch for years and have used it liberally when making meringue frosting, I had never tackled crème brûlée. With its layer of crackly sugar and the hidden creamy surprise underneath, it always felt like a dessert best left to a trained pastry chef. It was just such a person who introduced me to pumpkin crème brûlée and inspired me to make crème brûlée for the first time.
A few weeks ago, I did a short demo as part of an event called Dueling Desserts at Highland, Illinois’s annual art fair, Art in The Park. While the event is billed as a sword fight, it’s actually an extremely friendly competition. One of the best parts about it is meeting the other chefs who show up.
The woman who you can see in the back left of the photo is Leslie Gillette, the pastry chef from esteemed St. Louis restaurant Salt. Leslie prepared two pastries for the event. The first was this gorgeous cake:
Leslie talked about decorating the cake with marshmallows cut in half and dipped in sugar. This technique is often used on cupcakes and you can read about it in Hello, Cupcake!.
Leslie also brought along pumpkin crème brûlée that she baked in a pumpkin. I HAD to sample that one! I love anything pumpkin and her pumpkin twist on a classic crème brûlée won me over. When she offered to send me the recipe, I knew that this would end my crème brûlée baking virginity.
How To Make Pumpkin Crème Brûlée
The pumpkin crème brûlée below is Leslie’s recipe with my notes. The only major change that I made was to use maple sugar for the brûléeing. I adore the taste of maple sugar and it went supremely well with the pumpkin. However, the maple sugar didn’t brûlée as well as plain granulated sugar would have. I was a bit bothered aesthetically by some of the dark bubbles that formed – but, man, did they taste good!!
Pumpkin Crème Brûlée Cupcakes
Check out the crème brûlée cupcakes that I made with the pumpkin crème brûlée!