I find that dinner parties at home are so much more enjoyable than going out for dinner with friends. You can control the pace, the service, and most importantly the menu! Anyways, I just celebrated the ultimate dinner party this past weekend with my first annual Friendsgiving.
Seriously, who came up with the term Friendsgiving? I have always celebrated Thanksgiving with family AND FRIENDS so not sure how FRIENDS got their own day?!?
Anyways, I’m totally convinced that is a made up holiday by Hallmark. In order to sell more cards, the company invented holidays to celebrate. Grandparents Day, Sweetest Day, need I say more? Anyways, it was probably a Hallmark Executive who teamed up with the Executive from Whole Foods who created Friendsgiving to sell more cards and more turkeys! Brilliant!
Regardless, it gave me more reason to start creating and get cooking! For this past weekend, I didn’t want to make two desserts (I am actually trying to save myself for the REAL Thanksgiving), so I decided to combine two of my favorite desserts into one: Creme brulee and pumpkin pie.
I actually had a green tea matcha creme brulee at my friend Judy’s house a bit ago, so I thought a pumpkin pie creme brulee would be just great. She was kind enough to lend me her recipe so I could riff off of it!
What’s amazing about creme brulee is that it is guaranteed to turn out great (believe me, I don’t say this about many things I bake). You don’t need to mess with fussy pastry, you don’t need to be that exacting with the measurements, and really, the base of creme brulee is really accepting to different flavors.
The trick up my sleeve is a pumpkin pie spice mix from Trader Joe’s. It’s a perfect blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, lemon peel and cardamom. For some reason, this smells (and tastes) exactly like pumpkin pie even though there is no pumpkin in the spice mix. I figured that pumpkin itself doesn’t have much flavor, and its really the spices that do all the hard work. Therefore, creme brulee without the pumpkin wouldn’t be that big of a miss.
So….Friendsgiving turned out without a hitch, and of course, the pumpkin pie creme brulee was the hit of the night. I swear, I need to experiment more with creme brulee flavors…peppermint patty, salted caramel, bourbon pecan?
Stay tuned!!!! There may be more creme brulee variations coming your way. I hope you enjoy! Hopefully, this can make your Friendsgiving and Thanksgiving day spread! TIP: Note that the raw turbinado cane sugar is key in this recipe… It creates a beautiful amber crust…white sugar tends to burn really quickly (and goes black before it goes to amber).
Key Ingredients/Tools needed:
1) Sur La Table® Mini Kitchen Torch– The only way to get the beautiful, charred, amber crispy top on creme brulee. This blowtorch comes with its own safety button so it’s very unlikely you will burn down the kitchen! Melt cheese, roast marshmallows, scorch peppers, broil meat…this mini torch is universal! Get your own by clicking the link below.
2) Sur La Table Round Porcelain Ramekin– Oven safe and versatile, these ramekins are perfect for creme brulee or baking mini pot pies or savory casseroles. Get your own by clicking the link below. Hint Hint, you need 8 ramekins for the below recipe!
Sur La Table Round Porcelain Ramekin
- 4 cups heavy cream
- 3/4 cups white sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 7 large egg yolks
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 tbs of pumpkin spice seasoning
- 2 tbs of raw turbinado cane sugar
- In a large kettle, bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Heat oven to 300 degrees.
- In a large pot, gently heat the cream and about half of the amount of white sugar.
- Scrape the vanilla bean seeds (the insides) into the pot and place the pod in the pot as well.
- Add 1 tbs of pumpkin spice.
- Heat over medium heat, stirring to absorb the sugar about 7-8 minutes. Do not bring to a boil.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, remaining white sugar and salt.
- Using a ladle, add small portions of the hot cream into the egg mixture, whisking as you go. Gently, whisk in the remaining cream.
- Taking a sieve, strain the entire mixture (removing the vanilla pod, big clumps of seasoning and any clumps of eggs) into another bowl.
- Divide the mixture evenly into small ramekins.
- In a large baking pan, add hot boiling water about 1/3 of the way up.
- Add the ramekins to the baking pan (the water level should come up about ½ up the ramekin).
- Bake the baking pan and ramekins for 30-40 minute. Custard should be set and just a bit wobbly in the center.
- Remove from oven. Remove ramekins from the hot water bath and lay on a baking rack over the sink. (this allows for faster cooling)
- Cool on a baking rack for 30 minutes. Then cool in the refrigerator (covered with plastic wrap) for about 3 hours.
- Remove from the fridge and evenly sprinkle the raw cane sugar on top of each custard.
- Pass the flame torch about 2 inches from the sugar, and in a circular motion, brown the sugar, until it bubbles and turns a pretty amber color. Serve Immediately.