- 1 1/3 cups heavy cream
- 2/3 cup whole milk
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus more for caramelizing
- 1/4 cup pure pumpkin purée
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1 scant tablespoon instant espresso powder
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
- Place four (6-ounce) gratin dishes or ramekins in a high-rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan big enough to hold them.
- In a small saucepan, stir together the cream, milk, sugar, pumpkin purée, spices, and salt. Heat the mixture over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is barely steaming, 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks.
- Gradually add about 1/2 cup of the hot cream mixture to the yolks, whisking constantly, then slowly add the remaining cream mixture and stir to fully combine. Mix in the espresso powder and then pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer set over a bowl. Divide the mixture among the gratin dishes or ramekins. Place the baking sheet in the oven and carefully pour enough hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
- Bake the custards for 20 to 25 minutes (if using gratin dishes) or 30-35 minutes (if using ramekins). The edges of the custards should be just set but the centers should still jiggle when the pan is gently shaken.
- Transfer the ramekins to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature. Loosely cover the ramekins and refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight.
- Just before serving, sprinkle the top of each crème brûlée with an even layer of sugar (about 1 1/2 teaspoons per ramekin). Working with one ramekin at a time and using a kitchen blowtorch, move the flame continuously in small circles over the surface until the sugar melts and lightly browns. Serve immediately.
A tea pot or tea kettle makes filling the baking pan with hot water much easier.
A slotted metal spatula works well for transferring the ramekins to the cooling rack.