Pumpkin Creme Brulee

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Because we didn’t get any trick-or-treaters this year (or any year), I was able to take the pumpkins from our pumpkin-off and cut them up shortly after we carved them in order to make use of all that lovely pumpkin flesh.  And I ended up, after hacking and cutting and boiling and puréeing, with 14 cups of usable pumpkin goo.  So you’re going to get a lot of pumpkin recipes.  I hope you like pumpkin.

I have never made crème brulée before.  But for many years, the Pie and I were in possession of a tiny butane brulée torch.  Then about two years ago I decided we were never going to make crème brulée and I got rid of it.  And THEN, after doing that, I discovered how freaking easy they were to make.  Yes, I did kick myself a little.  Not to fret, though: you can do the bruléeing with the help of your broiler.  It doesn’t do as even a job as a torch, so you have to rotate your ramekins while you’re doing it, but it does work.  And this pumpkin crème brûlée from The Foodess looks too easy and too lovely to resist.  In fact, way easier than regular crème brûlée.  So we’re doing it.

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Preheat your oven to 325°F and set a kettle of water on the boil.  Find a large baking dish and eight 3/4 cup ramekins.  You’ll note here I used four ~1 1/3 cup ramekins.  You may need two baking dishes.

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In a small saucepan, bring 2 cups whipping cream to a simmer.

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In a large bowl, whisk together 2 cups pumpkin purée (the plain stuff, not the pie filling), 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 5 egg yolks (save the whites for something awesome), 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, a sprinkle of salt, and 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice.

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Ever so slowly, dribble the hot cream into the pumpkin mixture and whisk it up.

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Divide the mixture among your ramekins and place them in the baking dishes.  Pour boiling water into the dishes until it comes about halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

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Then pop that in the oven, middle rack, and bake for about 35 minutes (with my larger ramekins I baked mine for 55 minutes), until the centres of the puddings are just set.

Transfer the puddings to a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes, then chuck them in the fridge for at least two hours.  You can make these the day ahead, and you can even freeze the chilled ramekins to eat later.  Just wrap them up carefully before freezing.

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Just before serving, you can take the puddings out of the fridge (or freezer) and sprinkle the tops of each with about 1 teaspoon granulated sugar (the plain white stuff works best for caramelizing).  If you’ve got one, use a brûlée torch to quickly and evenly caramelize the sugar and then serve immediately.

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I didn’t have a brûlée torch (see above(, so I used my broiler.  Thing is, even if you move the puddings around under the broiler (easier said than done), they still don’t caramelize evenly.  So I had some charred spots and some spots that were hard and crackly, but not brown.  Not to mention that all that time under the broiler heated up the pudding itself, which is supposed to be served cold.  Alas.  But they were still super tasty, with a nice crackly top, despite what this picture may be telling you.

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Five-Minute Gluten-Free Flat Bread

Five-Minute Gluten-Free Flatbread

One of the benefits of having a friend who has a gluten intolerance is that I get to learn all sorts of new recipes.  This one I served up as an appetizer at Easter dinner.  At first, it seemed questionable and I doubted it would work, but when I did it, I was pleasantly surprised.

First, preheat your broiler (the top grill in your oven) to its highest setting and move the top rack as close to it as possible.

Then, using a scale, measure out 150g gluten-free flour.  For the purposes of this recipe I used half white rice flour and half soy flour.

Five-Minute Gluten-Free Flatbread

So you have your flour.  Now you also need olive oil, sea salt, and some warm water.  The amount of water you will need will vary but on this particular occasion I needed about 1 cup.

Five-Minute Gluten-Free Flatbread

Slowly add the water to your flour mixture, stirring the whole time.  When you come up with a mixture closely resembling cake batter then you’re all ready to go.

Five-Minute Gluten-Free Flatbread

Pour some olive oil onto your baking sheet and spread it around with your fingers.  In retrospect I would have used an older sheet where the oil would have stuck better to the surface.

Five-Minute Gluten-Free Flatbread

Roughly spoon your bread batter onto the oiled sheet and drizzle some more oil over top.  Make your hands nice and oily too — it helps.

Five-Minute Gluten-Free Flatbread

Use your fingers to spread the batter to the edges of the pan.  You will get some areas where the batter is translucent — this is a good thing — and this is where your big bubbles will happen when the bread cooks.

Five-Minute Gluten-Free Flatbread

Sprinkle it with sea salt and whatever spices you want.

Five-Minute Gluten-Free Flatbread

Place the bread under the broiler and keep an eye on it.  When it starts to char in places, after a few minutes, take it out.

Five-Minute Gluten-Free Flatbread

So this is the top:

Five-Minute Gluten-Free Flatbread

Use a spatula and your fingers to flip it over.  You can see how, because the oil moved away from the surface of the pan, I had some sticking issues.  This wouldn’t happen in an older pan.

Five-Minute Gluten-Free Flatbread

Pop that under the element again until it’s nice and charred as well.

Five-Minute Gluten-Free Flatbread

Use a pair of scissors to cut it into pieces and serve warm.

Five-Minute Gluten-Free Flatbread

On this night, when I was experimenting, I had it with home-made artichoke and asiago dip (recipe to come soon) and some goat cheese we got on sale.

Five-Minute Gluten-Free Flatbread

Surprisingly tasty and not too filling!

Five-Minute Gluten-Free Flatbread