Happy Autumn Equinox, everyone! Today marks the “official” start of fall in the Northern hemisphere, with exactly 12 hours of sunlight and 12 hours of darkness, and it’s all downhill from there as far as daylight goes, LOL, until December 21st. I hear it’s the only day where you can balance a pumpkin on its stem. Oh wait, that’s an egg…no, that’s a myth, right?

It doesn’t feel like fall in Virginia yet, and it probably won’t in places like Texas until the winter solstice.

Moving on….

Of course, there are plenty of “unofficial” occasions that mark the start of fall for some folks. The end of Labor Day weekend. The first day back to school for the kiddos. The very tops of the sugar maples starting to turn red and gold. Ah, bliss. I love fall.

But I’m not here to talk about those particular signs. I’m here to talk about September 1st, aka the start of Pumpkin Spice Latte season in the Starbucks world. That’s what fall is really all about, Charlie Brown. *wink*

Pumpkin Spice…the source of delight and mockery. 

 

It’s all a matter of perspective.

You may have seen “a few” things on the internet about the pumpkin spice phenomenon. Seems like there’s a pumpkin spice for every occasion (at least hypothetically, haha).

For the horror movie fans:

For the second amendment folks:

 

Even the automotive DIYers can get in on the pumpkin spice craze, LOL:

As for me, I used to be a PSL fan, but I switched to mochas – a year-round, good-ol’ reliable flavor. But hey, you PSL enthusiasts out there, rock on. The world can use all the comfort it can get right now. Wave your flag proudly.

While I don’t drink PSLs anymore, I’m still a fan of pumpkin flavored desserts and treats. In fact, after checking my list of recipes on my iPad (I love the Recipe Tin app!), I was a bit startled to discover that I have 21 pumpkin recipes. Only one ingredient category has a larger number: chicken, at 24. Beef trailed in at third, tied with chocolate, at 20 each.

(Chocolate is tied for third? It’s a world gone mad. *sob*).

I’ve already shared my pumpkin fudge and pumpkin tiramisu recipes in earlier posts (listed below), but I figured ’tis the season for pumpkin, so why not another? So here’s my recipe for pumpkin creme brulee, a dessert featured in at least one of my Concordia books. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Crème Brulee (4 servings)

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp ginger
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
5 egg yolks
½ tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup pumpkin puree, fresh or canned
1/3 cup granulated white sugar
1 tablespoon light brown sugar, firmly packed
For sugar shell top: 4 tsp granulated white sugar.

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees (Fahrenheit). In a saucepan, whisk cream, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg over medium-low heat for 3-5 minutes, until bubbles form around edges of saucepan and steam rises from the surface. DO NOT BOIL. Take pan off the heat and set aside for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together egg yolks, vanilla, pumpkin puree, and sugars (except that reserved for sugar top) in a large bowl until ingredients are fully incorporated. Strain through a fine mesh sieve, and whisk the somewhat-cooled cream mixture into the strained mixture. Divide into four ramekins (8oz size).

What the bath looks like. Be sure to cover w/foil before putting in the oven.

Hot water bath: place ramekins in a large baking pan, and pour boiling water into the pan (around the ramekins) until water is halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until set. It may still be a little jiggly in the middle, but that should set as it cools.

Once they have cooled to room temperature, cover with plastic wrap (don’t touch the wrap to the surface of the custard) and chill in the fridge.

Just before serving, sprinkle 1 tsp of white sugar over top of each custard and either use a small kitchen torch to carmelize the surface, or put ramekins on a baking sheet and set it under the boiler for a minute or two, until the sugar is melted and the top is browned. Let cool briefly, and serve.

What do you enjoy about the fall? Do you have a favorite food this time of year? I’d love to hear from you.

Until next time,

Kathy

Want more pumpkin recipes? Check out these posts:

for pumpkin fudge:

Start your Halloween with a Pumpkin Mashup!

Taste of Fall: Pumpkin Tiramisu

 

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