Brown Sugar Pumpkin Crème Brûlée Recipe

Yield: 8 5" crème brûlées
Total Time:
1 hr
This is almost like a pumpkin pie without the crust.  But with a crusty caramelized sugar top.  It is also a great option if you have gluten-free people to consider, a topic which obviously has come to the forefront of allergy concerns. For us the decision to make it is just pure tastiness. There are several options for the caramelized top: an oven-dried brown sugar, superfine sugar, raw sugar, and regular sugar. Each have their merit.  The brown sugar has a great flavor, but can burn a little too easily and doesn't develop a thin-ice like structure (some may like it's texture better if regular crème brûlée toppings are too firm for them.) Super fine is fantastic for a super thin-ice crust. It's great to have on hand for cocktails too!


  • 15 ounces (425g) Pumpkin Puree , preferably home roasted (about 1 3/4 cups)
  • 3/4 cup (200g) Brown Sugar
  • 5 large Egg Yolks
  • 2 teaspoons (10ml) Vanilla Extract
  • 1 teaspoon (3g) ground Cinnamon, freshly grated Vietnamese Cinnamon if you can find it
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground Allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground Clove
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground Cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 3 cups (700ml) Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 8 Tablespoons Brown Sugar , or other preferred sugar for topping crème brûlées


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.

  2. Combine pumpkin puree, 3/4 cup brown sugar, egg yolks, vanilla, spices, and sea salt  in a bowl.  Whisk to combine.

  3. In a medium saucepan, heat heavy cream just to a boil. While cream heats, also begin heating a teapot full of water to use in the bain marie for baking the crème brûlées. Gradually whisk hot cream into pumpkin puree mix.
  4. Place 8 - 5" diameter x 1" deep ramekins into 2 large roasting pans. Carefully divide mixture evenly between the ramekins. Using a funnel to avoid splashing, pour enough water into the roasting pans to come 3/4's up the sides of the ramekins. Carefully place roasting pans in oven. (Alternately - place roasting pan w/o water on oven rack pulled partially out. Fill it with water 3/4's up the sides of the ramekins, then carefully slide rack into oven.)
  5. Bake until custards are just set (edges will be set but the center will still have a little wiggly when gently shook), about 35 minutes. (If you over bake the custards they will get tough and loose their smoothness, and if you under bake they will be a little runny.) Carefully remove custards from oven, then using a spatula, remove ramekins from water bath and place on a towel.  Cool slightly at room temperature, then refrigerate custards until cold.
  6. If using brown sugar for the topping, preheat oven to 300°F. Line a sheet pan with baking paper, spread out brown sugar into an even, thin layer.  Put in oven for a until it starts to dry out (@3-5 min.).  Remove from oven, allow to cool, then roll with a rolling pin to break up into granules again.  Reserve until you are ready to serve the creme brulees.
  7. When ready to serve, spread an even thin layer of dried brown sugar (or whatever sugar you are using). Using a torch or under the broiler, melt and caramelize sugar.  Allow to cool to set sugar, then serve.

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