Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Pumpkin Pots de Creme with Candied Pecans

I'm bracing myself.  Pumpkin recipes are hitting Blogosphere, and I couldn't be happier.  Pumpkin is about the only squash (or is it a fruit?) that I truly love.   For those of you who hate pumpkin pie, just send me your share. I'm in.

Pots de creme (PO-de-[insert phlem here] and say from deep in your throat "c-h-hrem") is a simple dessert.  I think of it as a baked custard. Actually, Pots de Creme is a lot like a creme brulee. Both are baked in a bain marie (water bath).  The only real difference is that a brulee has caramelized sugar, from a blow torch.

I hoard canned pumpkin.  I'm probably the reason that there is a "supposed" pumpkin shortage.   I eat pumpkin year-round. Here's one cup.  Isn't uncooked pumpkin a pretty color? Remember this, as I'll point this out later on.

Pumpkin spice is convenient, but I made my own blend of nutmeg, allspice and cinnamon. Coarse salt brings out the sweetness in desserts. Sounds strange, but it's true.  Molasses is also necessary for this recipe.

To the pumpkin puree, add 3 egg yolks (did you now you can freeze egg whites to use later?) and some brown sugar...

Add heavy creme.  This is not the time to add skim milk, folks. This is dessert.  Just eat a smaller portion.

The recipe said to oil  four individual ramekins. I'm not sure why, but I did as instructed.
NOTE: I've read that it's safe to use tea cups (which makes a pretty presentation) as the pot de creme is baked in water, at a temperature.  I'm not that daring, as my tea cups are heirlooms.   Set the ramekins on a clean kitchen towel, in a roasting pan and the oven should be preheated to 325F.

Divide the filling, evenly....  I used six ramekins, rather than the suggest four.

But don't space out, like I did, and forget to strain the filling before dividing it.  D'oh!

Very carefully, add hot water to the pan until it reaches to about halfway up.  I didn't use the right kind of pitcher, and splashed water into one ramekin.  Double D'oh!

Cover the pan loosely with aluminum foil and bake until the custards are set but still jiggle when you shake them, 30-35 minutes.
 Transfer the roasting pan to a cooling rack and remove the foil, leaving the ramekins in the water until the custard reaches room temperature. Removed the cooled ramekins from the water bath and refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours. NOTE: I found that the ramekins were cool enough to touch in about 30 minutes, and they went straight into the refrigerator.

While waiting for the Pots de Creme to cool, I decided to make the Candied Pecan recipe as a garnish. Leave the oven at 325F.  The ingredients include sugar, coarse salt, pepper, cinnamon and a pinch of cayenne.
 Add some honey...

...a little corn syrup

 Whisk it well...

I keep an arsenal of pecans in my freezer, so I measured about 1-1/2 cups. 
Coat the pecans, well, with the honey mixture.

If you have a silicone Silpat baking sheet, this is the perfect time to use it. Otherwise, use a lot of non-stock spray on a baking sheet. Bake at 325F for about 5 minutes.
Using a fork, stir the pecans to coat them with melted spice mixture. Continue baking until the nuts are golden and the coating bubbles, about 10 minutes. Transfer the pecans to the foil. Working quickly, separate the nuts with the fork. Cool. Can be made 3 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

I was a little disappointed that so much of the cinnamon had floated to the top. I'm not sure why, but the pecans do look pretty.  The pecans aren't necessary.  Whipped cream works really well with this dessert. So, remember how I said to make a mental note on how pretty uncooked pumpkin looks.  Don't look away....

I wasn't going to post this photo.  Fine Cooking won't be asking me for permission to reprint it, that's for sure. I'm just keepin' it real, and so here it is.  Remember the ramekin that I accidentally spilled water in?  This is it. Craterville, after scooping out the pool of hot water from the middle.  As for the color... well... it's not attractive.  I admit it. It reminds me of... well, I raised a baby. That's all I'm sayin'.   As for oiling the ramekins, I'm not sure if that's necessary. It's spooned out easily, and clean up was a snap.

VERDICT:  The texture was very creamy, indeed.  Pots de Creme are very quick and easy to make.  If you don't own a torch to make creme brulee, then this dessert is for you.   This is naked pumpkin pie, and I'm fine with that-- as I'm not the biggest fan of pie crust. Not too sweet, and the spice was balanced nicely.  As for the pecans, my son liked them.  I don't think they're necessary, but if you want to take the extra step, they make a pretty presentation.  That sorts of makes up for the not-so-appealing color. I still prefer my Pumpkin Brulee recipe, but this one come close.

I believe in giving recipe credit where it's due.  Thanks to "Baking Obsession" for the recipe, and beautiful photos.  A printable recipe card is at the end of this post.


Pumpkin Pots de Crème with Candied Pecans

        <p>Pots de Crème are very much like a Brulee, except there isn&#8217;t that crunchy sugar that is done with a blow torch. These are easily made with a whisk, and gently baked in a water bath.  The candied pecans are a nice touch, but not mandatory.  ...     

        See Pumpkin Pots de Crème with Candied Pecans on Key Ingredient.     


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Aarthi said...

Wow...This looks really mouthwatering....Thanks dear for sharing the recipe...Will surely give it a try..Bookmarking rightaway..


TKW said...


I don't like pie crust, either! This looks absolutely delicious and perfect for the season!

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

I love pumpkin custards of any kind. This is the kind of dessert that makes autumn worth waiting for!

bellini said...

I picked up a cooking pumpkin yesterday to make a dessert but could easily be swayed in this direction. I love custardy, creamy desserts and I love pumpkin!

Joanne said...

Between you and me, we could probably supply the nation with pumpkin! (I'm quite the hoarder as well.) These pots de creme sound absolutely amazing! I'll certain be adding them to the list of pumpkin recipes I'm making this fall!

Pam said...

My hubby loves about anything pumpkin; me, not so much but I definitely would like this because of the pumpkin being paired with candied pecans. Great recipe!

Laura Jeanne said...

Debbie, Holy Pumpkin Pots!!!! these look amazing and I absolutely love your step by step photos. I am such a visual learner and you lay out every step which is fantastic. I can not wait to make these!!!!!!
Laura @ A Healthy Jalapeño

BuyWoWAccount said...

I see a lot of pumpkin recipes recently. Halloween is yet quite far, maybe people are getting excited of these pumpkins. LOL

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Ciao Chow Linda said...

forget the color. I'd eat that anyday - especially with those pecans on top.

Chris and Amy said...

This would be the perfect dessert for our upcoming "fall feast."

Rita said...

What a great gourmet dessert; I can almost taste the creamy goodness!love your blog.

Becki's Whole Life said...

Looks super yummy! I didn't see the canned pumpkin last time I was at Trader joe's, but I see they must have had it at yours. The candied pecans are a great addition to the pumpkin.

Chiara "Kika" Assi said...

This is a hard time of the year for me... I see all these delicious recipes around that call for canned pumpkin and I cannot find anywhere :(

Cathy at Wives with Knives said...

Wow, how yummy is this! The candied pecans may not be mandatory but they certain dress up this lovely dessert and I know I would immediately pick them off the top of my serving before the plate hit the table. I have tried a pumpkin brulee recipe in the past but wasn't happy with the texture so I'm eager to give yours a try, Debby.

Stacey Snacks said...

It's pumpkin time!!! Happy fall Deb!

mjskit said...

I definitely want some of this! WOW! Great mini pumpkin pies. However, in my kitchen I'm not sure the candied pecans would make it to the pots de creme! :)