Thursday, October 23, 2008

Pumpkin Crème Brûlée: Inside, Outside, Upside Down

Pumpkin Crème Brûlée: three waysPumpkin Crème Brûlée three ways. I've wanted to try this for awhile now, and with pumpkin season upon us, I thought this would be a good time to give it a go. Recently, I made traditional crème brûlée and a frozen version. This time I tried it "inside, outside, and upside down" inspired by Stan Berenstain and the Berenstain Bears. This was a popular book for me when I was a kid and now for my children too.

Since crème brûlée and crème caramel (which I've posted about twice—here and here—on this blog) are such close cousins, I tried using one recipe to make both.

When I explained this idea to a friend, she was confused by the variations. Here's my explanation:

• Inside = traditional crème brûlée, served in a ramekin with the crackly top.
• Outside = crème brûlée baked in a parchment-lined ramekin and inverted onto a wafer or cookie and served outside the ramekin
• Upside down = traditional crème caramel inverted onto a serving platter

Pumpkin Crème Brûlée: Inside, Outside, Upside DownI found it interesting when I had a poll on my blog that crème brûlée won 9 to 2 over crème caramel. My favorite is crème caramel. So with this recipe, you can please everyone.


Makes 4 cups of custard

Ingredients for Pumpkin Crème Brûlée: Inside, Outside, Upside DownCustard:
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup whole milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
½ cup sugar
3 large eggs
2 egg yolks
1 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin purée
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg

1/3 cup sugar
4 tablespoons water
¼ teaspoon lemon juice

Crème brûlée top:
4 tablespoons sugar

To make the caramel: Bring the sugar, water and lemon juice to a boil. Cook, without stirring, until the syrup turns a light caramel color. Pour the caramel into ramekins, and tilt so that it covers the bottoms and sides. Let cool.

Note: If you want to serve the caramel separately as hard and brittle, pour it onto wax paper or a silicone-lined baking sheet and let cool. It will harden. Break apart like you would for peanut brittle. Serve alongside the custard.

To get ready: Preheat the oven to 300˚F.

To make the custard: In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream, milk and vanilla to a boil. Meanwhile, in a heatproof bowl, whisk the eggs, egg yolks and sugar until blended. Stir in the pumpkin purée, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Whisking constantly, pour the hot milk into the egg mixture; let rest for a few minutes, then strain. Pour the custard into the caramel-lined ramekins.

Place the ramekins in a baking dish. Add boiling water to come about two-thirds up the sides of the ramekin. Transfer the pan to the oven. Bake until a knife inserted into the center of the custard comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes. Let cool. Chill for 2-3 hours.

Pumpkin Crème Brûlée: Inside, Outside, Upside DownTo serve as crème brûlée: Sprinkle sugar evenly over top of cooked, cooled custards. Using a torch, move the flame continuously over the surface of the ramekins until the sugar melts and becomes golden brown and bubbly.

To serve as crème caramel: Run the tip of a knife around the edge of the custard to loosen it. Invert a serving platter over the ramekin and quickly turn it over again. Carefully remove the ramekin.

Happy Fall!


Pumpkin Crème Brûlée: three ways

Pumpkin Crème Brûlée three ways: "inside, outside, and upside down ...

See Pumpkin Crème Brûlée: three ways on Key Ingredient.


Megan said...

Oh My! This is my favorite ever. custard, pumpkin and caramel. Great pictures, I'm drooling. :)

Y said...

How cool! I loved the Berenstein bears! The creme brulee sounds particular enticing too.

Anonymous said...

this sounds sooooo good. :)

Zoe Francois said...

What a wonderful trio! I'm loving all things pumpkin these days.

btw those brownie pops are fabulous!

Susan @ SGCC said...

Wow! I love all three. They look divine!

Meeta K. Wolff said...

sounds good to me! I am a creme brulee fan and pumpkin is something I have not tried! looks amazing!

vibi said...

Ahh AH! Dali's back! ...accompanied by his friends, the more classic Raphael and MichaelAngelo!
When did you say Shari, I could go to your place for dinner? LOL
No! No! It's not that I want to invite myself, but you have to admit that missing out on such masters of the arts, would be a shame, really.

Ingrid_3Bs said...

That looks fabulous! So yummy! How creative! Thank you for sharing your recipe. I do though have a quick question, creme caramel and flan are they not the same thing? Is there any difference other than the name?

THX! BTW, terrific photos and plating!

Anonymous said...

you always have the most beautiful posts. love everything! gorgeous!

Mary Ann said...

I love what you have done with this dessert. I have been wanting to try Pumpkin Creme Brulee and all of these versions look and sound amazing! It is funny that you mentioned that book, my son just started reading it and he loves it. He turns it into a song. Very cute!

Kasey said...

Wow, I have got to try this! I would have never thought to use pumpkin in this way. What a beautiful blog, btw.

Emily said...

Your pictures are making me drool!

Seriously, I've got to make some pumpkin creme, soooon!

Katie said...

What gorgeous photos! This looks heavenly.

grace said...

what a terrific idea, and your execution is flawless!
and by the by, i was a huge fan of the berenstain bears. :)

Helene said...

That after the sole meuniere....YUM!! I love your idea of creating one batter for both and you did a beautiful job at it!
I love all that wonderful caramel throughout all three desserts!

Shari said...

megan - The flavors play well together!

y - Of all the kids programs out there right now, Berenstain bears are wonderful. {Sometimes I even ask myself "what would Mama bear do in this situation! -- I'm pathetic!!}

karen - Thanks!

zoe - The brownie pops are such a hit with everyone. Glad you liked them!

stickygooeycreamychewy - Thanks!

meetak - Creme brulee is such a classic dessert and crowd pleaser!

vibi - You're so sweet! You're welcome for dinner ANYTIME!

ingrid - Creme caramel and flan are the same thing, but when I looked at recipes for both creme caramel and creme brulee, there were differences. Brulee usually has only cream, no milk. Brulee usually has more yolks too. I'm not a pastry chef or expert, so if anyone else has answers to this, help us out. ;)

dessertobsessed - Thanks!

mary ann - It's a popular book, and now a song!

kasey - Pumpkin is such a versatile flavoring.

emiline - Hope you do!

katie - Custard is always heavenly.

grace - Love the Berenstain bears. If the kids want to stay up a little later and watch a Berenstain bears, I've often let them!

tartelette - Sole and custard would make a great meal. I'll have to remember that.

Thanks, everyone!

homeladychef said...

Hi! Chance upon your blog, enjoy it very much! Keep it up the good work. Will drop by more often, thanks for sharing :)

Anonymous said...

Wow! These look so good! Thanks for reminding me about the Berenstein bears.

marye said...

Wow, these look delicious. You are always so creative! I like the key ingredient recipe app too -- I may have to give that a try myself!

NKP said...

I remember that book too!
Looking forward to the next book themed dessert - on a boat, with a goat.. (hee hee)

this post is beautiful, I love the pictures and the study in contrast. But to make up my mind I am going to need a taste test, 7pm ok with you? ;)

Clumbsy Cookie said...

I would only have a problem here: witch one to eat first! Lovely pictures and patience ;)

Anonymous said...

Happy Fall to you too! It's beautiful, seasonal dishes like yours here that make me anticipate Fall so badly!
I'm a fan of both, brulee and caramel. You can always please me!

Anonymous said...

this dish is so pretty. i love your site. it's very colorful and inviting.

Marthe said...

Yep, I looked through the entire
book to see what I could make!
Love the tree ways creme brulee!

Anonymous said...

Loved this post...Inside, Outside, Upside Down was Matt's favorite book when he was little! Fun to revisit those memories always. The brulees all look, what a treat to see them all these ways...thanks for sharing. Beautiful photos.

Shari said...

homeladychef - I'm glad you dropped by and come back soon!

candy - The Berenstain Bears are a classic!

natashya - Sure, come on over. ;)

clumbsy cookie - Choices, choices.

white on rice couple - Glad you like both! I wish Fall didn't come so early here!

marthe - Thanks!

kayte - It's a classic Dr. Seuss book!

Thanks, everyone for dropping by!

Unknown said...

Yummy, I love creme brulee. Pictures look great. What is the the name of the yellowish color fruit on top. I had that in Canada, I can not remember its name

Shari said...

I think they're champagne grapes, but I can't quite remember! Doh! :)