Pumpkin Spice Crème Caramel
Crème caramel is one of my favorite desserts. Light, creamy, and simple to make at home. For this version of the dish I have flavored it with my pumpkin spice blend and topped it with crispy meringue. This crème caramel is sure to impress all the pumpkin spice lovers in your family. Happy cooking!
Stand mixer or hand beaters
Yield: serves 5
Preparation time: 1½ hour + overnight
Cook time: 45 minutes–1 hour
½ cup sugar
½ cup water
1½ cups whole milk
1 tsp pumpkin spice blend
¼ cup sugar
1 whole egg
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 egg whites
⅓ cup sugar
A small squeeze of lemon juice
Food coloring (optional)
For the caramel
Place 5x3oz ramekins onto a tray and put them in the freezer.
Put the sugar into a small pot and turn it on medium-high heat.
Cook until all the sugar has melted and started to caramelize. Swirl the pot around occasionally, this will help the sugar melt evenly.
Move the pot off the burner and carefully add the water.
Stir with a wooden spoon and bring the mixture to a boil. If the sugar has chunks don't worry they will melt again.
Boil this until it just starts to become slightly thick. You can test it on a cold plate, it should be fairly liquid when hot, but have a thick sauce-like consistency when cool.
Turn off the heat and divide the liquid sugar into the frozen ramekins.
Place the tray back into the freezer and allow it to freeze while you make the custard mix.
For the filling
Preheat the oven to 325°F.
Pour the milk into a small pot with the pumpkin spice and turn it on medium heat.
While the milk heats, add the sugar, salt, and eggs into a mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
Once the milk is hot to the touch, not boiling, turn off the heat.
While whisking continuously, start slowly pouring the milk into the egg mixture to temper it. Add only a little at a time making sure not to scramble the eggs.
Once all the milk has been added, whisk in the vanilla.
Strain the mix through a fine mesh strainer and let it settle in the fridge for about an hour. It will have a bit of foam on top that will disappear and you want all the spice left inside to sink to the bottom.
Once the spices have settled remove the ramekins from the freezer and put them into a deep oven-safe dish.
Divide the custard mixture evenly into the ramekins. Pour the mix slowly so the spice stays in the container, you don't want to have much spice in the custard. Discard the little bit of mix left with the spice inside.
Add hot water to the container about halfway up the ramekins and place them into the oven.
Bake for 25–35 minutes. The custard should still have a small amount of jiggle to it but be just set.
Remove them from the oven and take the ramekins out of the dish onto a tray to cool completely.
Place the crème caramels in the fridge overnight to set.
For the meringue
Preheat the oven to 250°F.
Use the separated egg whites from the crème caramel and place them into a stand mixer with the whisk attachment.
Turn on high speed and whisk until the egg whites start to become fluffy.
Turn the speed down and slowly add the sugar and the lemon juice.
Continue to whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks, about 5–10 minutes.
Whisk in the food coloring. I used a mix of yellow and red gel food colors to create a vibrant pumpkin orange color.
Turn off the mixer and scoop the meringue into a piping bag with a round tip and pipe the mix in long strips onto a tray lined with parchment paper. You may also want to make rosettes or differently shaped meringue. Because I am crushing it onto the dessert I didn't need them to be in any special shape.
Bake in the oven for 45–55 minutes to dry out the meringue completely. I will become perfectly crispy once cooled.
Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
Finishing the plate
Run a small knife around the inside edge of the ramekin, invert it onto a bowl or small plate and give it a little shake to release the crème caramel.
Top the dessert with crushed meringue and enjoy!