It is almost shocking to me that Thanksgiving is tomorrow. This year has been such a whirlwind, and now all of a sudden I'm finding myself sliding into home and making Christmas plans. By moving to Pittsburgh, this year I've reduced holiday stress by not having to load onto a plane with Jake and Lily and flying to our feast. But then the realization that hosting is probably even more stressful kicks in. And in the grand scheme of things, it's who you're with that's important, not what you eat.
That's a lie. What you eat is definitely important. But I'll continue lying to myself until our meal is completed on Thursday. If you are still contemplating what to make, you should consider these little gems. They taste a lot like pumpkin pie, but are more fun to eat when your spoon is breaking through the sugar shell. And they come in cute little individual servings, so you won't have to fight with your siblings over who got the bigger slice.
Pumpkin Creme Brulee
1 1/2 cups heavy cream 1 1/2 tsp. freshly grated cinnamon 1/4 tsp. ground allspice 1/2 tsp. freshly grated ginger 3/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg 5 egg yolks 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract Pinch of salt 6 Tbs. pumpkin puree 1/3 cup plus 4 tsp. granulated sugar 1 Tbs. firmly packed light brown sugar
Preheat an oven to 300°F. Have a pot of boiling water ready.
Pour the cream into a small saucepan and whisk in the cinnamon, allspice, ginger and nutmeg. Set over medium-low heat and warm the cream mixture until bubbles form around the edges of the pan and steam begins to rise from the surface, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for 15 minutes (you can cut this time down by putting it in the fridge).
In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, vanilla, salt, pumpkin puree, the 1/3 cup granulated sugar and the brown sugar until smooth and blended. Slowly pour in the cream mixture, stirring until blended.
Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl. Divide the mixture among four 8-fl.-oz. ramekins and place in a large baking pan. Add boiling water to fill the pan halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover the pan loosely with aluminum foil and bake until the custards are just set around the edges, about 30 minutes.
Transfer the ramekins to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 3 days.
Just before serving, sprinkle 1 tsp. granulated sugar evenly over the surface of each custard. Using a kitchen torch according to the manufacturer's instructions, move the flame continuously in small circles over the surface until the sugar melts and lightly browns. Serve immediately. Serves 4.