Blank Spaces

Blank SpacesGot a long list of ex-lovers
They’ll tell you I’m insane
But I got a blank space baby
And I’ll write your name
(Blank Spaces)

Top view

Pumpkin Crème brûlée
Source: Williams-Sonoma

1 1/2 c heavy cream (or half-and-half, though it’s less rich)
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger (ground ginger is fine)
3/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (ground nutmeg is fine)
pinch of ground clove
5 egg yolks
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
6 tbs pumpkin puree
1/3 c granulated sugar
1 tbs firmly packed light brown sugar
3-4 tsp raw sugar (aka turbinado sugar)

Preheat an oven to 300°F. Have a pot or kettle of boiling water ready.

Pour the cream into a small saucepan and whisk in all the spices. Simmer on medium-low heat until bubbles form around the edges of the pan and steam begins to rise from the surface. Remove from heat and let stand for a few minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, vanilla, salt, pumpkin, 1/3 c granulated sugar and brown sugar until combined. Ladle in a small amount of still-warm (but not too hot! or else the eggs will cook) cream into the egg mixture and stir until blended. Gradually add the remaining cream, constantly whisking to avoid lumps and to combine. Pour the mixture through a sieve and divide the strained mixture among ramekins. Place the ramekins in a large baking pan and full the pan with hot water, half-way up the side of the ramekins.


Loosely cover the pan and ramekins with foil and bake until the custards are just set, about 30-35 minutes. They should still wobble slightly when jiggled. Transfer the ramekins out of the water bath and allow to cool to room temp. Cover with plastic and refrigerate overnight before serving. Just before serving, top with the remaining granulated sugar, and using a kitchen torch (or broil in the oven at the highest setting – this doesn’t work as well, as you can see) to melt the sugar until it browns lightly. Work quickly as you don’t want the custard to warm up – just the top layer of sugar. Once the sugar forms a thin sheet across the top of the custard, use a spoon to crack the sugar and enjoy immediately.


With the holidays coming, this is a really great make-ahead dessert for friends and family (or yourself). It’s really simple and tastes like pure festivus. I prefer a really bold spice blend, but feel free to tone it down as needed. I didn’t have my blow torch handy, and used the broiler setting of my oven. This isn’t as good (as you can see from the pictures), as the heat isn’t as direct. I highly recommend using raw sugar, as it coats more evenly and browns quicker than granulated sugar. This will also yield the most satisfying crackle once you dig into the custard. Enjoy!

I’m obsessed with this Taylor Swift song – it’s like she knows about this and can see into every woman’s soul.


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