Chef Larkin’s Pumpkin Crème Brûlée

Serves 6-8 in individual ramekins

  • ¼ cup milk
  • 3/4 cup whipping cream
  • 8 ounces pumpkin puree (canned is fine)
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 whole eggs
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • Generous pinch ginger, generous pinch cloves
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon or dark rum (optional)
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/3 cup granulated or raw sugar (for brûlée)

Preheat oven to 300°.

Combine and heat together the milk and the cream in a pan; allow them to just come to the boil, turn off the heat, and let the mixture cool slightly. Whisk together all remaining ingredients (apart from the 1/3 cup granulated or raw sugar). Gradually whisk the warm cream mixture into the pumpkin mixture and blend until combined.

Pour pumpkin-cream mixture into 6-8 individual heatproof ramekins and place in a hot water bath—a larger pan, usually a roasting pan, filled halfway with hot water, that will hold all the ramekins with space between them. Bake in the center of the oven until set but still a little wiggly, approximately 40 minutes. Check them at 30 minutes. The custard should not slosh, just wiggle. They will set more as they cool. Once they are just set, remove them from the oven and from the hot water bath. Let them cool for about 30 minutes. Cover them with plastic wrap, but don’t let the wrap touch the surface. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to 2 days.

When ready to serve, preheat the broiler to high. Sprinkle the top of each cooled custard with a generous amount of the raw sugar. Place the sugar-topped custards on a bake sheet or in a roasting pan. Broil until the sugar is melted and well browned, about 1-2 minutes. Keep your eye on it. Let it cool briefly before serving.