Roasted squash perfectly embodies the warmth and taste of Thanksgiving. And when you’re living on a farm, squash are usually so plentiful (to put it mildly) at this time of year.
I’m especially fond of baby squash in all their shapes, colors and sizes. The squashes should be about 4 inches in diameter.
As for the crème brûlée filling itself, you’ll need a little bit of purée from a squash that has a creamy texture and a sweet taste. I often use butternut squash but you could also use butternut, delicata, or dumpling squash. Pumpkin also works nicely if you’re going for a pumpkin pie flavour.
If you don’t have a chef’s torch to burn the sugar, the broiler in your oven will do the trick. Just be sure to keep an eye on it because the sugar will caramelize and burn in no time.
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 5 egg yolks
- 1 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (optional)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup roasted squash purée
- 4 to 5 baby squashes, each about 4 inches in diameter and round in shape
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- Cut the baby squash in half and scoop out all the seeds and a little bit of the flesh to form a clean bowl-like shape. Cut a slice off the outer rounded edge so that the squash half can securely sit cut-side up without wobbling. Place the squash halves on a large baking sheet.
- Beat the egg yolks and 1/3 cup sugar until pale yellow and sugar has dissolved.
- Combine the cream and spices in a saucepan and heat on medium until just before it begins to bubble. Remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla and squash purée. Then whisk in the egg yolk mixture, whisking until smooth.
- Pour the mixture through a fine-meshed sieve into the prepared squash halves.
- Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 30-45 minutes. They are ready when the custard is set and has no liquidy spot when jiggled lightly. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
- When you are ready to serve your dessert, pulse the 3 tbsp of sugar in a coffee grinder for a few seconds to obtain a superfine powdery sugar. This helps with the caramelization.
- Using your fingers, sprinkle about a teaspoon of sugar on top of each custard. Using a small butane torch, hover a flame over the sugar, moving it around until the sugar caramelizes and begins to burn in spots. If you don't have a torch, place the crème brûlées under your broiler set to high heat. Carefully check them every 30 seconds or so because the caramelizing will happen very quickly. This method makes it a bit harder to control the caramelization, but they are ready when the sugar is melted and there are some flecks of burnt sugar across the top. Serve right away.