Thanksgiving dessert: Creme brûlée in mini pumpkins

Chef Car's creative Thanksgiving dessert ideas

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - Chances are you can guess what to expect on the dessert table this Thanksgiving. Pumpkin pie is an annual favorite, but if you want to try something new -- Chef Char has a simple suggestion.

On the WZZM 13 News at Noon she prepared creme brûlée in mini pumpkins.

Chef Char also teaches cooking classes at Kitchen 242 at the Muskegon Farmer's Market.

Check out the recipe for these pumpkin desserts.

Pumpkin Crème Brûlée

This recipe can be cooked in ramekins or little pumpkins for a festive presentation

Brûlée Ingredients:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin puree

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

2. In a medium size sauce pan, add the heavy cream and spices and heat until just boiling.

3. Remove cream and spices from heat and allow mixture to cool for five to ten minutes.

4. In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Add the sugar and continue whisking until smooth.

5. Slowly add the warm cream mixture to the eggs, adding about ¼ cup at a time while whisking.

6. Once all the cream and spices have been whisked into the eggs and sugar, slowly add the pumpkin puree while whisking.

7. When all of the ingredients have been incorporated, pour the mixture into ramekins or pumpkins. Recipe makes about six cups of mixture.

If serving brûlée in ramekins: Fill ramekins to the line on top of the ramekin. Place ramekins in a baking pan and add hot water to surround the dishes, careful to not get water into the desserts. Bake in the hot water bath for 45 minutes. Bake until the crème brulee is set, but still trembling in the center. Remove ramekins from hot water bath and refrigerate for two hours or up to three days.

If serving brûlée in pumpkins: For best results, find the smallest pie pumpkins available. If pie pumpkins cannot be found, consider different varieties of squash, including carnival squash or golden nugget squash. Carve the tops off the mini pumpkins or squash (save the tops for presentation) and remove seeds. Rinse the inside of the pumpkins or squash to assure removal of all seeds, leaving the flesh. Sprinkle inside of the squash or pumpkin with about a teaspoon of sugar, just enough to coat the flesh. Wrap the pumpkin in foil and bake for 20 minutes. Once done baking, open the foil and pour out any liquid from inside the pumpkin that resulted from baking. Fill the pumpkins or squash with crème brûlée mixture and bake for 45 minutes. Bake until the crème brûlée is set but still trembling in the center. Refrigerate for two hours or up to three days.

To serve: Remove crème brûlée from the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes prior to browning sugar on top. Sprinkle 1 to 2 teaspoons granulated sugar over the top of the custard. Using a torch, melt the sugar to form a crispy top. (If no torch is available, place desserts under an oven broiler for 1 to 2 minutes until sugar is brown and crispy) Allow crème brûlée to sit for about five minutes before serving.

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