Butterscotch Pumpkin Crème Brûlée

Butterscotch. Pumpkin. Crème brûlée. Is there anything else to be said? If you're looking for an alternative to pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, this is the luscious seasonal treat you've been searching for.

Crème brûlée is a classic French custard dessert. Its name means "burnt cream", and the traditional version of the dish is made using a delicate custard served with a glaze of singed sugar. This creates a crisp outer shell made to be broken with a spoon before enjoying the custard underneath.

Crème brûlee's origins are debated, though the first instance of its appearance in a written cookbook was in François Massialot's cookbook Cuisinier royal et bourgeois, which was published in 1691. Traditionally made with eggs and cream, our version is completely dairy-free because we think that everyone should be able to enjoy a delicious crème brûlée.


Making the custard
We recommend making the custard one day ahead, to avoid adding stress on the actual day it's served. Since the custard needs eight hours to chill before it can be glazed and served, this makes it the perfect dessert to prep ahead before the big day!

It's important to avoid curdling when you're cooking the custard. Eggs have a tendency to curdle in sugar-and-fat emulsions (such as a custard base), and one of things that can cause this is adding eggs that are too cold to a warm mixture. We bring our egg yolks to room temperature before adding them to the mix, which helps avoid the dreaded curdle.

Baking the crème brûlée in ramekins placed within a large baking dish with a water bath is another technique to help avoid curdling your custard. You can visit this link to learn some helpful tips for using the water bath technique.

The layer of burned sugar on top of crème brûlée is typically achieved using a culinary blow torch, but if you don't have one on hand you can create a similar effect using the broil setting on your oven. We've included directions for both techniques in the directions below.


Prep Time: 30 minutes  •  Cook Time: 30 minutes plus 8 hours of chilling

Total Time: 9 hrs

Serving Size: 6 ramekins


Ingredients for Butterscotch Pumpkin Creme Brulee



For the Pumpkin Crème Brûlée:

For the butterscotch sauce:



  1. Preheat the oven to 300ºF.

  2. In a large pot, combine the almond milk, pumpkin puree and cinnamon, bringing the mixture to a gentle simmer. Turn off heat before it comes to a boil.

  3. In a large bowl, add the egg yolks and sugar. Beat until light yellow and fluffy.

  4. Gently pour the pumpkin puree mix into the egg mixture and whisk together quickly.

  5. Once fully incorporated, strain the mixture into a large bowl or measuring cup with a spout.

  6. Place ramekins in a large baking pan with approximately 1 inch of boiling hot water surrounding them in a water bath.

  7. Pour the pumpkin crème brûlée mixture evenly into the ramekins.

    Pouring the custard into ramekins

  8. Carefully place the baking pan into the oven and bake for 45 minutes until the edges have set and the center jiggles just slightly.

  9. Remove from the oven and allow to cook on a wire rack for 1 hour.

  10. Cover ramekins with plastic wrap and place into the refrigerator for at least 8 hours to set.

  11. While the ramekins are chilling, make the butterscotch sauce: In a small pot, melt the buttery spread. Add the dark brown sugar along with the almond milk and vanilla extract.

  12. Bring to a boil stirring continuously until the sugar dissolves.

  13. Reduce heat to low and stir sauce occasionally for about 10–15 minutes, allowing it to reduce slightly.

  14. Turn off heat and set the sauce aside until ready to use.

  15. Once the ramekins have finished chilling, remove them from the refrigerator.

  16. Add a thin layer of butterscotch sauce onto the pumpkin crème brûlée. Be careful not to add a layer that's too thick, because the sugar in the next step will not adhere to the surface.

  17. Sprinkle a thick layer of sugar onto the butterscotch sauce. If you have a kitchen torch, use it to caramelize the sugar to create a hard top. If you do not have one, set the oven to broil and broil the ramekins for 2 minutes. Watch this step carefully as the sugar can go from well caramelized to burnt very quickly.

    Using a culinary blowtorch on creme brulee

  18. Once sugar has been nicely caramelized and the crème brûlée has cooled off a bit, serve and enjoy!


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