Pumpkin Creme Brulee

This is a fall dessert favorite and an ideal addition to add to your Thanksgiving table. I must have made this thousands of times in my restaurant, on TV and many classes. Yes, a brulee graces many menus, but it is just not the same without the pumpkin.Try it for yourself and you'll know what I mean...

Chef George Hirsch’s Pumpkin Crème Brulee
Makes 8 4-inch tarts

1 ½ cups milk
1 ½ cups heavy cream
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon orange zest
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
8 egg yolks
¼ cup light brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon light corn syrup
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch ground nutmeg
Pinch ground allspice

For the Brulee Sugar
3 Tablespoon granulated sugar
3 Tablespoon light brown sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, cream, pumpkin puree, orange zest, and vanilla and bring to a boil, stirring constantly, then remove from heat.

In the top of a double boiler, combine the egg yolks, brown sugar, granulated sugar, corn syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice, and cook until the mixture is lemon colored and coats a spoon abut 4-5 minutes.  Slowly add the pumpkin mixture and continue cooking until the mixture has the consistency of thick custard, about 3-4 minutes.  Remove the pan from the heat and pour into eight 4-ounce ramekins or tart shells.  Chill 5-6 hours.

In a small bowl, combine the brulee sugars and cinnamon for the topping.  Just before serving, top each custard with 1 Tablespoon of the sugar mixture.  Light a propane torch and move the flame back and forth over the sugar until it darkens.  Do not overheat or the custard will melt.  Or, pre heat the oven broiler, and watch carefully so the pumpkin custards don’t burn.