Pumpkin Créme Caramel

Silky custard with a touch of pumpkin is the perfect light dessert after a big holiday meal.

During the holidays everyone expects a spectaular dessert after a big meal. But sometimes a heavy dessert seems like too much. I love smaller “show stopper” desserts that have a little portion control element. This pumpkin créme caramel is the perfect finish to one of thsoe heavy meals. It’s light and creamy, the syrupy caramel is sure to impressive your friends and family.

A few chef’s notes at the end of this post will help you have a perfectly cooked, smooth custard. Be certain to read my tips about the caramel and how to invert and serve. This dessert is surprisingly easy to make. There are alot of steps, but basically you heat milk, add it to some eggs with sugar and pumpkin, strain and pour into ramekins. Bake, chill, invert and serve.

All the ingredients are most likely in your pantry and fridge right now. Just read the instructions throughly and follow my tips.


Pumpkin Créme Caramel

  • For the caramel
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 3 TBSP water

  • For the custard
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree

  • 4 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk

  • 1/3 cup plus 2 TBSP granulated sugar

  • pinch of salt

  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk

  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

  • Equipment
  • rimmed baking sheet

  • 6 – 6 ounce ramekins

  • dish towel soaked throughly with water

  • fine sieve

Place the ramekins on a wet dish towel on a rimmed baking sheet

Directions- For the caramel- time 10 minutes<br> For the custard- prep- 15 minutes, chill- 4 hours- overnight.

  • Pre heat oven to 325 degrees.
    Place water and sugar into a heavy wide bottomed saucepan, cover. Steam will build to prevent crystals from forming and create more moisture for the caramel.
    Swirl the pan over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved- about 3 minutes. Uncover the pan and continue swirling until the mixture is boiling.
  • Take the pan on and off the heat to control heat and continue swirling- not “stiring” ever- until the sugar becomes a golden amber color.
    Depending on you pan, this should take a total of 8 minutes to develop the amber color.
    Quickly pour into ramekins coating the bottom and the sides. The caramel is like molten lava so work quickly- but carefully.
    If you smell a burnt smell, the caramel is problably over done.
    You do not want the color to be too dark- see my photos for a color guide.
  • Set the caramel lined ramekins onto a baking sheet lined with a soaking wet dish towel. The towel will not burn while baking. The towel helps keep the ramekins in place and also creates a nest of steam once the baking sheet is filled with water filled the water bath.
  • In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and yolk, sugar, pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice and pinch of salt. Set aside.

    Heat milk in the same saucepan until steaming.
  • Slowly add the milk, a few ladles at a time, to temper the egg mixture.
    Mix the remaining hot milk in until the sugar dissolves. Now strain the egg and milk mixture (custard) through a fine sieve into a large measuring cup with a pouring lip. Stir in vanilla. Whisk to fully combine the pumpkin.
  • Carefully pour the custard into the caramel lined ramekins.
    Pour warm water into the rimmed sheet pan with ramekins & towel until the water is just below the rim. Carefully place rimmed baking sheet into the pre- heated oven and bake at 325 for 40-50 minutes minutes or until the center is set.
  • Cool ramekins on a wire rack then place inthe fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  • To unmold and serve: Place chilled ramekins with custard into a shallow dish filled with hot water just deep enough to go halfway up the ramekin. This will loosen the caramel. Run a knife around the inside edge of each ramekin to loosen the caramel. Place a dessert plate on top of the ramekins, then quickly invert. The caramel will puddle around the custard.
  • Serve immediately .
Covering the sauce pan to create steam for the caramel
Look for an amber color. Remove from heat so caramel does not burn.


Covering the saucepan while making the caramel insures sugar crystal do not form. This also allows for steam to be created which adds more moisture to the caramel.

Do not stir the caramel with a spoon. Only swirl taking the saucepan on and off the heat to keep the caramel from burning.

You can make this using one 2 quart soufflé’ dish.

Be cetain your serving plate has a rim or else the caramel will run all over your kitchen.

Straining the custard ensures no bits of egg are in your custard. You want a silky smooth custard.

Message me below for any other tips or questions.

Pour caramel into ramekins immediately. The caramel will harden.
Heat milk until just steaming
After straining the mixture, pour into ramekins.
The wet towel prevents the ramekins from shifting during baking.
Creamy, luscious and packed with flavor.

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