Pumpkin creme brulee for Thanksgiving dessert

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Pumpkin creme brulee


If you ask my daughter what her favourite holidays are Thanksgiving ranks pretty close to the top of the list.

For more than 15 years now we have celebrated Thanksgiving up at our camp with my whole family. We’re usually missing a brother or two and at least one niece or nephew, but even at that we’re a crowd of two dozen packed into the camp, spilling out onto the deck and down onto the beach.

We go for hikes in the woods, collect bouquets of leaves and fall wildflowers, hang out on the beach around a bon fire and occasionally go for one final dip.

The meal is potluck style so nobody has too much prep to do and we have a giant pumpkin carving party.

My children and all of my nieces and nephews spend the afternoon carving pumpkins and when it’s dark we cluster the pumpkins together to ooh and ah.

pumpkin creme brulee


That’s why my daughter loves Thanksgiving so much. She gets to hang out with all of her older cousins carving pumpkins for a whole afternoon.


Whatever you love best about fall and Thanksgiving there is a chance that pumpkin is somehow involved. And where there is pumpkin there are gingerbread spices. Add a touch of molasses and you have another delicious fall dessert.


 Pumpkin creme brulee


Have you ever made crème brulee? Chef Nancy Fox of Shadow Lawn Inn in Rothesay New Brunswick created this pumpkin creme brulee recipe for us, using molasses as the sweetener, instead of white sugar.


Crème brulee may sound difficult but it’s deceptively simple and takes only 10 minutes to put together. It’s also easy to make ahead so all you have left to do when it’s time for dessert is caramelize the tops under the broiler.


Pumpkin creme brulee

Makes 4 servings

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • ¼ cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice*
  • ½ cup Grandma Fancy Molasses
  • 6 egg yolks

*Substitute ½ tsp ground cinnamon, ¼ tsp ground ginger, ¼ tsp ground nutmeg and 1/8 tsp ground cloves.

  •  6 Tbsp demerara sugar (natural brown sugar) for caramelizing the top


  1. Heat cream, pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice on the stove. Whisk molasses and egg yolks together, and add the heated cream to the egg molasses mixture.
  2. Pour into 4 oz ramekins.
  3. Place ramekins in a large pan and pour hot water half way up the ramekins and bake in a 300°F oven for 45 minutes.(The crème brulee should be solid but still jiggly like a belly.)
  4. Cool for at least 4 hours in the refrigerator.
  5. To Serve, sprinkle 1 Tbsp of demerara sugar on each brulee, ensure that the entire top is covered. Melt the sugar under the broiler, keeping a very close eye on the brulees, or use a kitchen torch.

Can’t get enough pumpkin? Have you tried our Gingerbread pumpkin bars?

Gingerbread pumpkin bars

6 thoughts on “Pumpkin creme brulee for Thanksgiving dessert

  1. Anne Marie Stephen says:

    What kind of cream does this recipe call for please? What percentage of butter fat?

    1. Hi Anne Marie, Thanks for pointing out the lack of detail in the recipe. It calls for heavy cream. I have updated the recipe online so others won’t have to wonder.

  2. cathy says:

    Thank you for the recipe. I can’t wait to try it. Loved to hear how you enjoy your Thanksgiving in the states we don’t celebrate
    Thanksgiving until November I wish we had it in October.

    1. Bridget Oland says:

      Hi Cathy,
      My brother loves in Maine so sometimes we get to enjoy Thanksgiving in October and again in November!

  3. Jeanin says:

    Oh, Bridget! Can I come spend Thanksgiving with you? That sounds like such an amazing tradition, and a great weekend with family. Love all the carved pumpkins!
    That creme brulee looks amazing as well, and it’s gluten-free! I can’t seem to get enough pumpkin this time of year, definitely adding this to my ‘must try’ list.

    1. Bridget Oland says:

      Hi Jeanine, You’d be welcome to join us! My nieces and nephews often bring friends home from university for the long weekend so what’s one more mouth? Glad you’re enjoying the pumpkin recipes.

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