Pumpkin Creme Bruee
Jeff Park loves squash. Start with a sweet sugar pumpkin, although this dessert could be made with other squashes in place of the pumpkin.
1 sugar pumpkin (to yield 1 c. pumpkin purée)
1/2 c. granulated sugar
4 egg yolks
1 vanilla pod, split lengthwise, seeds scraped out
1 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground ginger
1 c. whipping cream
sugar for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cut the pumpkin in half, remove seeds and pulp. Wrap each half with foil and bake 1 hour, or until tender. Scrape pumpkin from shells and purée in a blender. Strain through a fine sieve. Put aside 1 c. pumpkin and freeze the rest to use in something else.
Reduce the oven to 300°F. Beat half the sugar with yolks until creamy. Add vanilla seeds, spices and pumpkin purée. Beat until smooth. Bring the whipping cream, vanilla pod and remaining sugar to a boil. Slowly add the cream to the pumpkin mixture. Strain through a fine sieve. Divide the mixture evenly into 6 ramekins. Put the ramekins into an ovenproof pan and pour enough hot water into the pan to come 1/3 of the way up the side of the ramekins. Cover the pan with foil.
Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the ramekins and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight. To finish, sprinkle sugar evenly on top and use a blowtorch to melt the sugar and caramelize it, or put the ramekins under a broiler to caramelize the sugar.