pumpkin spice crème brûlée.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; cinnamon is in my opinion the friendliest warmest spice known to man. It’s just so comforting. This recipe just kind of came to me as a matter of serendipity.

Last year I bought myself two kilner jars – the idea was to infuse my own sugar. The first jar I poured my sugar in, split a vanilla pod and then scraped the seeds out and mixed them with the sugar in the jar. I then left it for a week or so and had an amazing home made batch of vanilla sugar; perfect for flavouring my soy lattes. The plan for the second jar was to make cinnamon sugar. I bought whole cinnamon sticks, broke them up and put them in the sugar hoping the sugar would pick up the scent. Alas not. So I decided to grate some nutmeg in too to enhance the smell and that stick was rather “bleh” in its flavour. That’s where I left it – until yesterday.

If you’re from the US you’ll probably be very familiar with Starbucks’ Pumpkin Seed Lattes that are synonymous with this time of year in the US. Here in the UK Starbucks have only just got around to launching the Pumpkin Seed Latte for the first time this year and with that I’ve just remembered how amazing the spices that rear their heads at this time of the year actually are. So I went about trying to recreate this taste at home. I’ve often grated nutmeg over my lattes, but still Starbucks’ PSL wins hands down. And this is where I remembered my kilner jar full of spices and a rare spark of genius went through my head. I took the sugar out of the jar, along with the nutmeg, cinnamon and added cloves popping it all in my pestle and mortar. Grinding it down to an almost icing sugar consistency. Then popped it through a sieve to get rid of the larger bits of spices. Viola pumpkin spice sugar.

So how did I get to the crème brûlée? Well when I sprinkled the sugar on top of my soy latte it formed this kind of sugar layer that resembled a not quite so crispy sugar layer similar to that found on crème brûlée. So with that I thought I’d give it a go.

Ingredients

This recipe is based upon a Mary Berry recipe, which can be found here, it says it’s for six crème brûlées, however I found it only stretched to five. No major loss for me, but just bear it in mind. But it’s such a simple recipe, with very few ingredients.

4 egg yolks
30g pumpkin spice sugar
600ml double cream
60g pumpkin spice sugar
butter for greasing

Method

There are several ways of making crème brûlée these days it seems, the traditional way is to bake the custard – and I’m a traditional man at heart so in searching for a recipe that’s what I was looking for.

  1. Preheat the oven to 160˚C (Gas Mark 3).
  2. Grease the ramekins with a little butter.
  3. Beat the egg yolks with 30g of pumpkin spice sugar in a heat proof bowl.
  4. Heat the cream until almost boiling, but do not let it boil.
  5. Pour the cream on to the egg mixture to temper the egg yolks, beat constantly until combined.
  6. Divide the custard between the ramekins and place into roasting tin filled with hot water that goes half way up the side of the ramekins (forming a bain marie).
  7. Bake in the oven for twenty minutes or until the custard has set. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
  8. Just before you’re ready to serve them, sprinkle with the remaining pumpkin spice sugar.
  9. Place under a really hot grill and keep an eye on them so they don’t burn, allow the sugar to caramelise and pop in the fridge and serve within a few hours.

This is the best part of crème brûlée; cracking into the caramel.

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