French Fridays: Pumpkin Crème Caramel

Pumpkin Crème Caramel on a white and blue plate.Happy French Friday!

In a very un-Mardi-like move, I’m sharing another pumpkin recipe!

Yup, hot on the heels of last week’s Pumpkin Crème Brûlée, this time I’ve got a Pumpkin Crème Caramel for you!

Why, Mardi, why? Why all these pumpkin recipes? (Apart from the fact that is is the season over here…) Well you know how you buy a can of pure pumpkin purée? And how most recipes don’t use that much? Well, yeah. I’ve been basically looking for ways to use it up because even after two rounds of the crème brûlée, and one delectable pumpkin loaf, I still had leftovers! Buoyed by the success of the crème brûlée, I wondered if I could manage a crème caramel as well (a little more challenging to play around with the ratios because, unlike the crème brûlée, the crème caramel needs to be turned out and, therefore more stable.

Looking down on a Pumpkin Crème Caramel on a blue and white plate.

Because of the pumpkin pie spice infused into the cream, this has a less “clean” look than a regular crème caramel but I actually kind of like the look. This took a couple of tries to get the texture *just* firm enough that you can turn it out but still smooth enough that it’s silky and melt-in-your-mouth.

Contrary to popular belief, crème caramel is pretty easy to make. The most difficult part (and the part where younger bakers will need supervision) is the caramel but once you have that part down (takes all of 10 minutes), you’re laughing! Caramel does need you to keep an eye on it though so make sure that you aren’t doing anything else when you are making that. An excellent job for kids during this time is to keep an eye on the clock and on the colour of the caramel to look for visual cues that it’s ready!

With just a handful of ingredients, very little “hands on” time and the ability to make this in advance (the day before is perfect), this is a great addition to any fall dinner menu – maybe even your (Canadian) Thanksgiving menu?

Yield: 4 (1/2 cup ramekins)

Pumpkin Crème Caramel

Pumpkin Crème Caramel on a plate surrounded with caramel sauce.

Love pumpkin but don't love pie? These easy crème caramels are for you!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Chill Time 4 hours
Total Time 5 hours 10 minutes

Ingredients

For the caramel

  • 1/3 cup (67g) granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons water

For the custard

  • 1/2 cup (80 mls) milk
  • 2/3 cup (160 mls) heavy cream (35%)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup (67) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup pure pumpkin purée

Instructions

    Make the caramel:

    1. Place the sugar and water in a pot, and swirl them around gently with your finger or a chopstick to make sure the water is absorbed. Place the pot over medium-high heat. Do not stir.
    2. Once the sugar has melted and is liquid, cook for 4 to 5 minutes, swirling the pan occasionally, but never stirring, until the caramel is a deep golden colour. If sugar goes up the side of the pan when you are swirling, use a pastry brush dipped in water to clean the sides of the pot.
    3. Pour the caramel directly into the ramekins, making sure to evenly coat the bottom of each one. Place the ramekins in a deep-sided baking dish and place this on the countertop close to the oven.

    Make the custard:

    1. Preheat the oven to 325˚F (160˚C). Fill a kettle with water and bring it to the boil.
    2. In a large, heatproof bowl, using an electric hand mixer, whisk the egg yolks, eggs and sugar on high speed until pale and starting to thicken slightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Place the bowl on a damp cloth or paper towels to hold it in place later when you are whisking one-handed.
    3. Meanwhile, in a medium-sized pot, heat the milk and cream with the pumpkin pie spice over medium-high heat. Bring this to a simmer (do not boil) and immediately remove from the heat. You can also heat the milk in the microwave in a glass jug.
    4. Slowly pour about one-quarter of the hot cream into the egg mixture, whisking constantly so you don’t scramble your eggs! Once this is completely combined, add the rest of the hot cream and the vanilla, whisking constantly.
    5. Add the pumpkin purée and whisk through until the mixture is smooth.
      Divide the mixture between the ramekins, filling them nearly to the top.
    6. Pour the boiling water from the kettle into the baking dish, being careful not to get any water in the custard, until it’s about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. This is called baking in a bain-marie and it cooks the custard gently.
    7. Carefully place the baking dish in the oven and bake for 45 to 55 minutes. The outside of the custard should be cooked but the center of the custards might still be a little jiggly.
    8. Remove the dish from the oven and, using rubber-tipped tongs or a flat spatula, lift and remove the ramekins from the boiling water. Place them on a wire rack to come to room temperature.
    9. Cover each ramekin in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours or overnight (these will keep for a day or so in the fridge).

    Plate and serve

    1. When you are ready to serve, remove the ramekins from the fridge and, one by one, place each one in a dish of lukewarm water for a minute or so.
    2. Run the blade of a small knife around the edge of the custard, place a small plate on top of each ramekin and, holding tight, flip the plate.
    3. The custard should fall easily onto the plate but if not, you can shake the plate vertically until you hear it drop.

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did you make this recipe?

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What do you think – will you give it a go?

Pumpkin Crème Caramel on a plate surrounded with caramel sauce.

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