I was drinking a cup of iced chai yesterday thinking that it would make a great creme brulee, and why not add pumpkin just because? And so Pumpkin Chai Creme Brulee was born.
I’ve made vanillacreme brulee before and it’s different than your average dessert but not hard. The creme part is a basic custard and the brulee is the crunchy caramelized sugar topping.
Bonus points for the make ahead factor, the custards are fine in the fridge for a day or so. Add the sugar and toast it right before serving, the secret is to get the sugar to caramelize without heating up the custard. The best part of a creme brulee is cracking the sugar crust!
Pumpkin fits right into a creamy creme. It’s smooth and doesn’t disrupt the silky texture. If you use homemade pumpkin puree make sure it’s completely smooth.
As far as the flavoring, I love pumpkin spice more than any one rightfully should but sometimes I want to mix it up a little. So I turned to chai tea.
A bag of chair tea to be exact. I don’t know about you but I absolutely hate getting a ‘pumpkin spice -insert food here-‘ when all it tastes like is a mouthful of gritty cinnamon.
That was definitely something I wanted to avoid. Adding the tea to the cream while it heats infuses it with a gentle spice and tea flavor with none of the grittiness.
Make sure you read all the way through before starting, there are a few steps involved that you probably haven’t had to deal with making other desserts. You will need a set of 6 Ounce Porcelain Ramekins and a stainless steel bowl for a double boiler.
When you pull the bowl off the double boiler keep the water at a simmer. You’ll need the water to make a water bath for the custards. You could use water from a tea kettle but it’s already hot so why not use it?
While the tea is steeping mix up the rest of the custard. I like to use a large Pyrex measuring cup. The spout makes it easy to pout into the ramekins.
Slowly add the hot cream while whisking. Your goal is to not cook the eggs.
Place a clean towel in the bottom of a 9×13 pan, set the ramekins inside. The towel keeps the cups in place once you add the water. Fill with pumpkin custard.
Place the pan on the oven rack and fill with hot water. Loosely cover with foil and carefully push into the oven.
Remove from the oven when the custard is set around the edges. They should still be jiggly in the center.
Carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool down. Switch them to the fridge.
Right before serving top the custard with sugar. Gently shake the sugar all over the custard. Quickly heat under the broiler or get fancy with a torch.
Keep an eye on the sugar, it goes straight from melted caramel to burnt in a blink!
Adapted from Pumpkin Creme Brulee by Table for Two Blog
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- 2 C heavy cream
- 2 bags of chai tea, I used Tazo Chai
- 1 t vanilla extract
- 1 C pumpkin, not pumpkin pie mix
- 1/2 C packed brown sugar
- 5 egg yolks
- White sugar for the topping
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees
- Heat the cream in a double boiler until the cream starts to bubble around the edges
- Remove the top bowl from the heat and add tea bags. Keep the bottom pot of the double boiler boiling
- Allow the cream and tea to steep for 5-10 minutes
- Set up your ramekins. I put a clean washcloth towel in the bottom of a 9*13 pan to keep them from sliding
- Whisk together the pumpkin, vanilla, brown sugar and egg yolks
- Slowly add the hot cream, whisking constantly
- Evenly fill the ramekins with the cream/pumpkin mixture, pull out the oven rack and place the pan on it.
- CAREFULLY pour the boiling water from your double boiler in the pan surrounding the ramekins. If you need more water add hot water from the tap. You really don't want to be moving the pan around ful of boiling water if you can avoid it!
- Loosely cover with foil, push in the rack and close the oven.
- Check after 30-40 minutes to see if the custard is done. They are done when the edges are set
- Remove from the water bath and allow to cool on a wire rack
- Move to the fridge for at least 4 hours or over night
- Just before serving add a spoonful of sugar to a ramekin and gently shake it around until the entire surface is covered. Pout the excess sugar to on the the next ramekin
- Torch the sugar until melted and starting to brown but don't let it burn
Check out my Autumn Page for more ideas or start with these: