Spiced Pumpkin Crème Brûlée

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Prep Time: 270 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 to 6

If you were to eat Thanksgiving dinner at Sunday Suppers, Karen Mordechai’s communal cooking center in Brooklyn, you might end the lavish feast with this pumpkin crème brûlée, which is served communally in a large baking pan. A small kitchen torch is necessary for this recipe, but it is not a costly investment and is worth purchasing for fun projects like this.


  • 1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g) plus 4 tsp. sugar
  • 5 egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 1/2 cups (12 fl. oz./375 ml) heavy cream
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup (6 oz./180 g) pumpkin puree


Preheat an oven to 325°F (165°C).

In a heatproof bowl, whisk together the 1/2 cup sugar (4 oz./125 g) and the egg yolks.

Place the vanilla bean on a work surface. Using a small, sharp knife, cut the bean in half lengthwise. Using the knife tip, scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into a saucepan. Add the vanilla bean pod to the saucepan, then add the cream, cinnamon stick and nutmeg. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat.

Rest a fine-mesh sieve over the bowl containing the egg yolk mixture and slowly pour the hot cream mixture through the sieve into the yolk mixture while whisking constantly. Whisk in the pumpkin puree.

Pour the mixture into a 9-by-12-inch (23-by-30-cm) baking dish and place it in a larger pan, such as a roasting pan. Add enough boiling water to the larger pan so that it comes halfway up the sides of the smaller baking dish. Cover the pans loosely with aluminum foil and bake until the custard is just set, about 30 minutes.

Transfer the smaller baking pan to a wire rack and let the custard cool to room temperature. Then refrigerate, covered, for at least 4 hours or up to 3 days.

Just before serving, sprinkle the remaining 4 tsp. sugar evenly over the surface of the custard. Using a kitchen torch, move the flame continuously over the surface until the sugar melts and browns lightly. Serve immediately. Serves 6.

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