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Pumpkin Creme Brulee

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Pumpkin Creme Brulee is a seasonal take on the classic French dessert, Crème Brûlée. It’s familiar to many people with celiac disease as one of the most common gluten free desserts offered in restaurants. I think it is a great dessert to master at home so you can try seasonal variations whenever you want. It’s also one of those desserts people can safely prepare for guests who eat gluten free.

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To Freeze or Not To Freeze – Canned Pumpkin

Typically I prefer recipes that use a whole can of anything (like coconut milk). That way I don’t have to figure out what to do with what’s left. It seems like I always have leftover canned pumpkin.  Over the years I’ve saved my favourite pumpkin recipes (to use up what’s in the can) so check out my list at the bottom of this post for something you might want to make.

Freezing pumpkin (and coconut milk) is an option too and I’ve done this many times. But it doesn’t get rid of the problem, it just moves it to a different location and makes the problem last longer. Fortunately, pumpkin lasts in the fridge for more than a week. That is, if it doesn’t get pushed to the back and forgotten. In recent years I’ve tried harder to use it up without freezing it. Just use the system that works best for you and try not to waste it.

A Water Bath

This Pumpkin Crème Brulee, as with any creme brulee, must be cooked in a water bath. This method adds moisture to the oven, creates an even cooking temperature and prevents the dessert from cracking or becoming rubbery.

Kitchen Tip – Before you start pull out a few casserole dishes with deep sides and figure out how your desserts will fit into them. It’s easiest to do this with empty dishes.

Get The Tools

Kitchen Blowtorch – There is a bit of technique to master using a kitchen blowtorch to make the caramel topping on crème brulee without burning it. I’m not perfect at it but everyone thinks it’s fun to try. In this picture of a classic Creme Brulee you can see the hard caramel that was just broken with a spoon. That’s what you’re going for.

A spoonful of Creme Brulee
Creme Brulee -photo credit Jim Little

Classic Crème Brulee Dishes have low sides but come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Ramekins – 4-oz or 6-oz ramekins are handy in the kitchen for all kinds of things. They are also perfect for crème brulee.

Let me know in the comments below if you tried this Pumpkin Creme Brulee.

More Pumpkin Recipes

Pumpkin Date Cake on a pedestal tray garnished with calendula petals.
Pumpkin Date Cake -photo credit Jim Little


1¾ cups heavy whipping cream
3 large whole eggs
½ cup sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
additional sugar for caramelizing


Preheat oven to 300°F.
Heat cream in a saucepan until hot but not boiling.
In a separate bowl beat eggs and sugar.
Gradually whisk the heated cream into the egg/sugar mixture whisking constantly to prevent the eggs from cooking.
To ensure a silky smooth custard strain the mixture as you pour it back into the pot.
Return to the heat. Add pumpkin and cinnamon stirring until combined.
Pour custard into 6-8 individual crème brulee dishes or ramekins that are sitting in large baking dishes.
Carefully pour boiling water into the baking dish to come almost half way up the side of the ramekins.
Bake in preheated oven until the center of the custard is set; 30-35 minutes for shallow dishes, 35-40 minutes for deeper ramekins.
Remove crème brulee from water bath and cool.
Cover and chill. Can be made to this point a day in advance.
CARAMEL TOPPING - Set dessert on the counter for 15-30 minutes. Sprinkle 1-2 Tbsp sugar evenly over custard. Caramelize sugar with a blowtorch or broiler.
Preheat broiler. Set custard under broiler as close to heat as possible. Broil until sugar is browned but not burnt, about 1½ minutes. Serve as soon as the caramel has hardened.
Holding the dessert in one hand and the blowtorch in the other use the blowtorch to make circular movements over the sugar. When the sugar starts to bubble tilt the dish to try and cover the entire surface with a caramel layer. Let caramel harden for a few minutes. Serve.
Do not refrigerate after the caramel is hard or it will soften.


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