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We met Rowan as she is dating one of Napper’s best friends, the lovable Brian Difeo.  We were immediately impressed to learn that Rowan is a respected pastry chef!  Baked goods and desserts are one surefire way to a Firestone Sister’s heart…  SO, we started peppering her with questions!  One of them being, what is a pumpkin based dessert can we make for Thanksgiving that will be easy yet will appear terribly impressive?  And so, we will be purchasing creme brulee molds and a kitchen torch and knocking the socks off family this Thanksgiving!  Move over pumpkin pie.

Pumpkin Creme Brûlée

2 cps Heavy Cream

1 cp Whole Milk

1 can (15 oz) Pumpkin Puree

1 tsp Cinnamon

Pinch of Ginger

Pinch of Cloves

Pinch of Salt

8 Egg Yolks

1 cp Sugar

1/2 Vanilla Bean

Extra Sugar for Caramelizing at Service

  1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. In a small saucepan, combine the cream, milk, half a cup of the sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add them and the bean to the pot. Whisk until mixture begins to simmer. Remove from heat.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the yolks and half a cup of the sugar. Remove the bean from the cream mixture and whisk a small amount of the hot mixture into the egg yolks to temper them so they do not scramble. Slowly add all the cream to the yolks, whisking constantly. Put the pumpkin puree in a large bowl and gradually whisk in the liquids until completely incorporated and smooth.
  3. Strain the custard and pour into ten four-ounce molds. Set the molds in the oven in a baking pan. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until set. To determine if the custard is done, lightly tap the sides of the custard dish; if the mixture ripples like a liquid, then it is not done. Cool, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  4. When ready to serve, sprinkle the surface of the creme brûlée with a generous amount of sugar.  Torch the sugar until it is a deep, caramelized golden brown.

Rowan Johnson is a lecturing instructor at the Culinary Institute of America.  Her career has spanned the country and she has worked for many renowned chefs including Joel Robuchon, Gordon Ramsay, and Michael White in NYC.  She currently lives in Beacon, NY with her hot man and adorable dog.


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Happy Thanksgiving!!  xoxo

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