Pumpkin Creme Brulee

Serves 4

1.5 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
2 pinches ground nutmeg
1 pinch ground ginger
1 pinch ground cloves (or two whole cloves)
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/3 cup coarse sugar or raw sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 300 F.

2. In a medium saucepan, heat the cream, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves over medium heat, stirring occasionally, just until it comes to a boil. Then take it off the heat and let the mixture steep for about 15 minutes (take out the whole cloves before going to the next step!).

3. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the granulated sugar till it turns creamy, smooth and a lighter shade of yellow. Whisking constantly, slowly pour in the warm cream mixture. Add in the pumpkin puree then whisk it in till completely combined. Pour the mixture into 4 oven-proof ramekins. Place them in a baking pan filled halfway with hot water.

4. Bake these for about 40 mins. The custard should shimmy a bit when you take it out of the oven. Let the ramekins cool on your counter for about an hour, then cover them with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2-4 hours.

5. It's best to brulee these just before you serve. Sprinkle the raw sugar in an even layer over the top of the custards. You can either stick them under your oven broiler for a few seconds (watch them like a hawk), or use a kitchen torch to caramelize the sugar till it melts, darkens and then hardens after a minute or two. This will create the perfect caramel top that you will hear that satisfying crack from when you dig into it with your spoon.