Monday, November 21, 2011

Pumpkin-Bourbon Creme Brulee

With Thanksgiving just days away now, I've been thinking about the day and the menu. I suspect most people have a favorite part of the meal. The turkey, or the stuffing, or the gravy, or the mashed potatoes, or the dessert. Not me. I genuinely don't think I have a favorite part of the Thanksgiving feast that occupies a position of heightened importance above all the rest. For me, the meal is a package deal.

That said, there's nothing like finishing the feast with a proper, traditional dessert. And when I think of Thanksgiving desserts, pies immediately come to mind. Three in particular figure prominently: apple, pumpkin, and pecan. In our household, certain pies are requisite traditions. Apple is one. As superficial as it may sound, the holiday just wouldn't be the same without one.

This year, however, we've been inspired to also serve as a somewhat less conventional Thanksgiving dessert that's still in the spirit of the holiday and the season: pumpkin-bourbon creme brulee. Credit for the inspiration goes to The Artist's Palate in Poughkeepsie, New York. When we celebrated our anniversary there a few short weeks ago, we concluded dinner with a shared pumpkin creme brulee. From the first bite, we knew we had to go home and concoct a recipe of our own.

The pumpkin is prominent, but not overpowering. The bourbon adds a layer of complexity to the flavors. The texture is silky, smooth. When we tested the recipe over the past weekend, Kelli and I both intended to just sample the creme brulee to confirm success. Instead, we both ended up eating an entire 6-ounce ramekin! Try this recipe for yourself and see why we couldn't hold back. For our part, we'll be serving it to our family on Thanksgiving. It's that good. It's a dessert that can stand up to one of America's great holidays.

Pumpkin-Bourbon Creme Brulee
Makes six 6-ounce ramekins

2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon bourbon
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
8 egg yolks
1 cup pumpkin puree (cooked and mashed, or canned)
Granulated sugar

1. Preheat your oven to 300 deg F.
2. Whisk together all of the ingredients except the granulated sugar.
3. Skim any foam off the top of the mixture.
4. Place 6 ramekins (6-ounce size) into a pan. Divide the mixture evenly between them.
5. Place the pan on the middle rack of the oven. Pour enough hot water into the pan so that the water comes half way up the side of the ramekins.
6. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the creme brulee is just a little wiggly in the center.
7. Cool the creme brulee completely in the water bath. Remove from the water bath, cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
8. Sprinkle granulated sugar on top of each ramekin just before serving. Use a kitchen torch to caramelize the sugar.


This recipe is: gluten-free, peanut-free, tree-nut-free, fish-free, shellfish-free.

1. If you don't have a kitchen torch, you can caramelize the sugar by placing the creme brulee ramekins under the broiler in your oven. Just watch them carefully!
2. You can also use smaller or larger ramekins, but the bake time may decrease or increase accordingly.
3. Normally you'd serve creme brulee with a spoon. We had a brain cramp and photographed it with a fork. Either way, it's delicious!

- Pete


gfe--gluten free easily said...

Please tell me there's still room at your Thanksgiving table for me! ;-) This creme brulee (arguably my favorite dessert) looks simply amazing, Pete and Kelli! I'd say that the same factors that made you eat an entire ramekin also made you use a fork in the photo. LOL Pumpkin-Bourbon Creme Brulee "madness" ... makes perfect sense to me. ;-) Seriously.


Dee said...

Question for you, I noticed there are none of the usual spices you would use for pie. Have you tried the recipe with them? Would they just over power the buurbon? Thanks

peterbronski said...

Hi Shirley... There's always room at our table for you!

Hi Dee... We made a conscious decision to omit spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg in order to get a cleaner pumpkin flavor and to let the bourbon come through. But you could definitely add them (in small amounts) for a more traditional touch of spices.

Cheers, Pete

Melissa said...

I saw this and said "Oh my god" out loud. Yes. Please. Thanks for posting this!

Sherri said...

Can I ask what brand of bourbon? I'd love to make this but I haven't bought any bourbon since being GF. Thanks!

peterbronski said...

Hi Melissa... Enjoy the recipe!

Hi Sherri... By law, all bourbon must have at least 51% corn and all bourbon is distilled, which would render it gluten-free, regardless of starting ingredients. Go with a "straight bourbon" (as opposed to a blended bourbon), which may not contain any additives after distillation. Maker's Mark is one good example.

Cheers, Pete

Sherri said...

Thanks Pete!