Entertaining Expert Carol Mackey
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Pumpkin Crème Brulee
2 cups whipping cream
½ cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise OR
1 tsp. good quality vanilla
½ cup pumpkin puree
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ tsp. cloves
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp. ground ginger
1 tsps. cinnamon
6 large yolks
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place 6 (6 ounce) ramekins in a bain-marie (water bath).
Mix cream and sugar in a medium saucepan, add vanilla or if using vanilla bean; using a sharp knife, scrap seeds from vanilla bean; add seeds and bean to saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves and mixture comes to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer gently 10 minutes to infuse flavors. Remove vanilla beans.
Whisk yolks in medium bowl until well blended, add pumpkin puree, syrup and spices. Gradually whisk in hot mixture just to blend. Return custard to measuring cup; divide among dishes. Pour enough hot water into pans to come halfway up the sides of dishes.
Bake custards until set in center, when pans are gently shaken, about 40-50 minutes. Chill at least 3 hours and up to 2 days.
Sprinkle 2 tsps. brown sugar evenly over custard. Hold torch 2 inches away from surface, the sugar will melt and brown or place under the broiler. Serves 6.