Love and Olive Oil

Pumpkin Crème Brûlée

Pumpkin Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee

I finally cracked open a can of pumpkin.

I figure if it’s cold enough to have the heat running, I can stop holding on to the last rays of summer light and finally accept that it’s gone, and subsequently drown my sorrows in canned pumpkin. It’s the only thing that makes fall bearable, in my opinion.

Pumpkin Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee

Pumpkin crème brûlée seemed like an obvious choice, especially now that I finally have a crème brûlée torch to my name (yay, cookbook for giving me an excuse to get one!) Throw in some swoon-worthy Uganda vanilla beans from my Food Blog Forum swag bag (thanks, Beanilla!) and you have yourself one heck of a fall dessert.

Pumpkin Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee

Call it a gateway dessert, if you will, paving the way for many more sweet amber treats to come. I have a feeling there will be a lot of them.

Pumpkin Crème Brûlée

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1 cup heavy cream
1/2 vanilla bean
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup turbinado or granulated sugar


Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Bring a pot of water to a gentle boil (this will be used for the water bath later).

Scrape out the seeds of the vanilla bean with a paring knife. In a small bowl, whisk together egg yolks, brown sugar, pumpkin, and vanilla until light in color.

Heat cream in a small saucepan until it starts to steam. Gradually pour warm cream into bowl with egg yolks, 1/4 cup at a time, whisking vigorously, until incorporated. Skim off foam. Pour into 4 (4-ounce) shallow ramekins. Arrange ramekins in a baking pan and place pan on oven rack. Carefully pour in just enough boiling water to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until just set. Remove from water bath and allow to cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.

Just before serving, sprinkle a generous tablespoon of sugar evenly over the top of each ramekin. Use a kitchen torch to caramelize the sugar, moving torch evenly across the tops of the custards to keep the sugar from burning. Alternatively, you place the custards on the top rack of a broiler set to high, and broil until sugar is golden brown and caramelized, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve immediately.

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  1. Hi

    Please supply the weight of the pumpkin – if using fresh baked pumpkin.


  2. Confused about vanilla bean.  ive never baked with vanilla bean. Do I open the bean up and split the seed open?

    • Correct, you’ll want to split the bean in half lengthwise, then use the back of a knife to scrape all the seeds out of it. You can save the leftover pods and use it to make vanilla extract or vanilla sugar if you want.

  3. Loved your recipe, but the batch I only refrigerated for 5 hours did not set. And was like a ‘sauce’. But the batch that I let set overnight was perfection, so maybe you should revise that bit? Maybe it was just me, but 5 hours wasn’t enough time.

  4. Hello. 
    First I have to say that I love your blog, your recipes, your photos… it’s a very nice site to visit.

    I’ve never made creme brulée, and I love it, maybe because I’ve never used a kitchen torch, or any kind of torch :)  Anyway, this recipe looks fantastic, but I wonder if I could use real pumpkin, instead of can pumpkin.


  5. I’m about to start preparing your wonderful creme brule… What size was your pumpkin puree can? I’m making 8 servings, so I’ll be using the whole can. I’ve got a 30oz can (Libby’s). Help, Lindsay!

    • Standard size (15oz) can is what I used, which usually is about 1 3/4 cup of pumpkin, but you only need 1/2 cup of it for 4 servings as per the recipe.

  6. I made this tonight and it was awesome. We used some in a water bath and others not a water. The one in the water bath turned out awesome. This is an awesome recipe.

  7. Nagyon finom lehetett,nem csoda ha kiürült a tál!!!!

  8. I love classic creme brulee but with the taste of pumpkin it sounds really delish! I have to try this!

  9. Just made this for my family for Thanksgiving and it was a hit! My only problem was that it didn’t set well, and turned out pretty soupy. I allowed it to sit in the fridge overnight and didn’t undercook — any tips?? Thanks!

  10. You know, we’re a small group for Thanksgiving this year and your pumpkin creme burlee will be a much better choice for dessert than an entire pie. Can’t wait to make it!

  11. I’ve been wanting a reason to get a torch as well. Maybe I can use this as an excuse since I’m not writing a cookbook! crème brûlée is awesome so pumpkin crème brûlée must be epic.

  12. Thank you for this great idea. I tried it last weekend and it was a big hit! Everyone liked it and I’m going to make it again and again (maybe for christmas…).
    Greeting from Germany

  13. YUM! I almost got some Creme Brulee when I went to a Portland icon restaurant, Papa Haydens, last weekend, but settled on a Caramel Macadamia nut tart. I love Creme Brulee. I’ve made several pumpkin things recently and am at the moment making pumpkin bagels.

  14. This looks amazing – love making creme brulee and any excuse to try a new recipe is a good reason to make it. It’s on the menu for my next dinner party. And don’t you just love the little torch!!

  15. I cannot tell you how up my alley this is. It’s totally not cold enough to have the heat running here… we’re movin’ on into summer! Still in the name of expat Thanksgivings, I think this one is a total must.

  16. This was a wonderful dish! I liked that the pumpkin flavoring was not overpowering. I considered adding other pumpkin pie spices too but am glad that I did not. The vanilla bean and pumpkin are perfect together. Thank you for sharing!

    • Yes! I thought the SAME thing… to cinnamon, or not to cinnamon. But pumpkin can be such a delicate flavor I didn’t want to cover it up. Glad you enjoyed it!

  17. I made this last weekend, and it was fantastic! Thanks for the recipe!

  18. Wow … I need this now. I bet this is totally a gateway dessert!!

  19. such a great fall twist on a classic! yum!!

  20. Love all the vanilla bean seeds! Looks yummmm…

  21. That looks scrumptious!

  22. I just bought new ramekins, a torch, and vanilla bean paste this weekend! can’t wait to make this :)

  23. This looks like such a special treat, lady! however, being a college girl and all I don’t have access to a kitchen torch. Could I omit that step entirely or is there another way to caramelize the sugar?

    – Katie

  24. Love canned pumpkin in all forms. Baking my mother’s pumpkin bread tomorrow (and posting recipe soon after) but this will be what I do with the extra can of pumpkin I bought!

  25. It snowed here (weird for October) and I am still having problems giving it up. I pretty much pouted and waved my fist towards Mother Nature for the majority of the day yesterday. This creme brulee though – yeah, I could let it take me away.

  26. I think I will make this for Thanksgiving at your mom and dads. Surely Wayne will have a blow torch! The photos are beautiful!

  27. I love creme brulee, so I am def.going to give this one a try:)

  28. Looks so good! One of the best ones I’ve ever had was a salted caramel creme brulee … mmmmm

  29. I love flavoured creme brulee – I made a pistachio version recently which was delicious, but pumpkin sounds even better – and perfect for the season. I bought my blow torch recently too – they’re so much fun!

    • Pistachio brulee? That sounds divine! I saw some pistachio butter online recently, would have bought it if it hadn’t been so $$. Is that what you used?

  30. Mmm… I always love sweet flecks of vanilla… a sign of a good dessert. this is stunning.

    I’ve resigned myself to winter. turned on the heat 2 days ago (we have frost here, FROST!!) :)

  31. Thank you so much for an amazing recipe! My test friends loved it and I will be making it for Thanksgiving for the family! Hugs!

  32. This is so gorgeous!

    I love the specks of vanilla in the orange custard.

    And I have a torch on my Christmas wish list :)

    PS: Do you know when your book will be out?!? That will be on my list, too.

    • Tentative release date is June 5th. No idea what’s going to happen between now and then, so… we’ll see!!! :)

  33. Super yum! Two spoons though….hmm, dunno if I would have shared:)

  34. creme brulee just might be one of my all-time favorite desserts. i can’t believe that i don’t own a torch! definitely just registered for one for my bridal shower though!

    pumpkin + creme brulee = perfect.

  35. wow looks fabulous! Great post as always

  36. Aw man I’ve been wanting to take a crack at crème brûlée forever but I have no clue where to get a torch. Any tips on where to look?

  37. wow thats amazing! I never though creme brulee with pumpkin. what a genious idea!

  38. omg, i love creme brulee — and with pumpkin?! this is a must make!! i need some butane ha!

  39. omg. That looks soooo good.

    gateway dessert, love it.

    and this may be the reason i just ‘have to have’ a mini blow torch. bed bath and beyond has plenty in stock that are calling my name :)

  40. This looks like heaven. Creme brulee is one of my all-time favorite desserts. Haven’t ever had a pumpkin one though. Good excuse for me to break out my torch as well!

  41. Yum! I bought a torch but haven’t ever gone to get the butane- I think it may be time to change that, this looks delicious!

  42. I’m glad I’m not the only one mourning the disappearance of summer. Like you, pumpkin is helping me through! This looks like a good distraction :)

  43. You. Are. Kidding. Me. !

  44. Yay, another reason to use my torch!! This is exciting! I have this stuff at home. I just need Ramkins.

  45. Oh man, that looks great. Specks of vanilla bean get me every time. Love your pretty pumpkin, too! I don’t have a culinary torch, but I use my husband’s blowtorch. So massive, but fun :)

  46. I don’t have a kitchen torch but if I promised a dessert like this, I think I could convince my husband. Sounds absolutely divine, Lindsay!

  47. “Gateway dessert” – definitely! This sounds so good right now.

  48. i’ve been yearning for a torch for months now.

    i have to say, while the whole brulee was certainly beautiful – i really dig the empty eaten one with all the little seeds in the bottom. it’s gorgeous against the orange of the pumpkin. Yum yum!

  49. PS- now I need to convince the hubs that a kitchen torch is a necessity ;)

  50. YUM. this looks incredible!

  51. Great recipe…I was planning to making something similar for the next weekend :)

  52. Heavenly! I saw another pumpkin creme brulee on the cupcake project recently. They both look so fantastic!

  53. i am hanging on to anything i can with summer! i can’t stand the thought of what fall brings–winter! ugh.
    Yes, pumpkin makes it a bit better. lol

  54. My coworker ordered a pumpkin creme brulee last week in san francisco at Incanto, chef Chris Cosentino’s restauarnt (from the Next Iron Chef) and it was out of this world good. (of course I tried some) I want a torch so badly so I can make this myself!

    • You can pick up a torch at Home Depot for around $3-$4. I’ve been using one for all of my creme brûlées which works great. It’s much cheaper than spending the $30-$40 they charge for a “creme brulee torch” at other places

  55. I bet my husband (the pumpkin lover in the family) would love this! Though we only have camping torches – probably a bit over kill huh? ;)

  56. I love creme brulee but pumpkin creme brulee sounds even more amazing! Your photos are absolutely gorgeous. :)

  57. What?! That sounds like the most amazing dessert!! Love the flecks from the vanilla!

  58. That sounds great! I love the first photograph, especially.

  59. Is there anything that doesn’t taste better in the pumpkin version? I LOVE this!

  60. Sigh…I’m going to have to get a torch aren’t I? This looks wonderful, so creamy and with a perfect brulee top!

  61. What a wonderful way to use up pumpkin puree! I love me some Creme Brûlée!

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