19 October 2008

A Time to be Thankful for Pumpkin Creme Brulee

A few days ago was World Food Day...a day set aside by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations....

This day has been celebrated each year on October 16th since 1945. The theme for this years conference is "World Food Security: the Challenges of Climate Change and Bioenergy." To find out more about what you can do in your area... visit the World Food Day site here .

Octobers event was a huge success in raising awareness with the help of all of you!!!! We were overwhelmed by the kind words and response of each and every blogger!!! Thank you so much for all your inspiring dishes for our conga line and wanting to join us in spreading the word worldwide!! We tried to bring the world a little closer together with dishes that represent each of our countries. Each and every one of these dishes is a great inspiration to us all and brings to the forefront the plight of 862 million undernourished people around the globe including those even in our own area of the world.

Our own personal journey to raise awareness for this worldwide issue continues.......

In Ivy's words....................

"November is the month of Thanksgiving, we as Foodies have more reasons to be thankful with all that we have. Thanksgiving is celebrated in the United States on November 27th but that does not mean that bloggers from Australia, India, China, New Zealand, Africa, Europe (or in whichever part of the world you live in) do not have plenty of reasons to be thankful.

Even if Thanksgiving is not celebrated worldwide, it’s a great start to being thankful for what we have. For this November event we can prepare anything we like..make it something festive (not necessarily expensive) and it may be a main dish, a side dish a salad or a dessert. We would also like to hear along with these inspiring dishes why you are thankful and any other story you wish to share with us related to this subject.

For those who celebrate Thanksgiving you may wish to share one of your prized recipes or perhaps a decorating ideas for the holiday, or great tips you’ve gleaned elsewhere. The roundup will be posted a few days before Thanksgiving to give you time to prepare yourselves for the celebration".

Here in Canada Thanksgiving is celebrated the second Monday in October. If you want to read the history and understand the difference between the Canadian and American Thanksgiving feel free to enter here.

In a city the size of mine with a population of 110,000 people...30,000 residents, including 10,000 children, receive hampers from the Food Bank. Hunger is not necessarily a Third World country concern but is a prevalent problem in our cities and streets. The number of both working poor and working homeless is increasing.

- 27% of homeless people work full or part time.
- 51% of homeless residents receive income assistance; more than half are on disability.
- More than 22,000 individuals live below the low income cut-off and are at risk of becoming homeless.
- Minimum wage is far below a living wage.
- 5,000 households pay more than 50% of their income on housing
- our city currently has a 0% rental vacancy rate.
- Housing prices have doubled in the last five years.
- The cost of housing is rising faster than incomes.
- Rents exceed $817/month for bachelor, 1 and 2 bedroom units and continue to rise.

The first, and most important fact, is that all homeless people are not alike. Circumstances which result in homelessness can happen both to the young and old, people with college degrees and those who are illiterate. They may be mentally ill, suffer from drug or alcohol-addiction, be displaced workers or veterans. Many of the homeless are among the working poor...people whose minimum-wage jobs just won't pay the rent and put food on the table. In addition, there are hundreds of households in our community which are just one crisis away from homelessness. They may be sharing housing ... living paycheck to paycheck with no reserve for emergencies ... people who have no friends or family to help them. The homeless can be victims of illness, child abuse, violence or the lack of education and job skills. Whatever the circumstances of their homelessness, these men, women and especially the children really need our help! They are part of the world hunger crisis and didn't choose their circumstances!!!!!!

To join us in this event check out what you need to do here!!!!!!!!!

This recipe comes from Anna Olson of the Canadian Food Network and was perfect for our Thanksgiving feast.

**Pumpkin Creme Brulee**

1-2 small pie pumpkins
2 1/2 cups whipping cream
1 vanilla bean
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 T granulated sugar
10 large egg yolks
½ + ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1 T brandy
8 T turbinado sugar, for brulee

Preheat oven to 350 F and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Cut pumpkins in half, scoop out seeds and place face-down on prepared baking tray. Dock pumpkin surface with a fork and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until tender. Cool, then scoop out pumpkin and purée until smooth. Measure out 2 cups for custards, then refrigerate or freeze remaining.

Reduce oven temperature to 325 F and place 8 (5-ounce) ramekins in a baking tray with a lip. Heat whipping cream with scraped out seeds of vanilla bean until just below a simmer. In food processor, purée sugars, egg yolks, ½ tsp cinnamon, ginger, allspice and brandy with reserved 2 cups of pumpkin. Pour hot cream into pumpkin mixture until all has been added. Pour custard into ramekins and fill baking pan with boiling water (resting pan on oven door is easiest). Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until custards are set, but jiggle just slightly in the centre. Remove custards from pan, cool for 20 minutes, then chill for at least 4 hours.

To brulée custards, toss remaining ½ tsp cinnamon with turbinado sugar. Sprinkle onto custards, and caramelize with a butane torch (available at kitchen supply stores). Chill for up to 2 hours or serve immediately.

Serves 8 Best Blogger Tips


  1. I need a butane torch...badly. These are beautiful.

  2. Pumpkin creme brulee is a great idea!

  3. Those Crème Brûlées look gorgeous! A wonderful combo...

    We have to be thankful for all the little things in life...



  4. Lovely creme brulees, Val. I'm glad you're running the event again this month. Hopefully I'll get a chance to enter this time round, especially as the 27th is my birthday!

  5. Val, first I love Pumpkin crème brûlée, but never made it yet.

    This is a great post. I volunteered, at the Food Bank, in NS and let me tell you that we you see that little kid coming with his mom to get food your heart just melt.

    On a Dec. 22 a women walked, in the cold (-22), with a baby & a yr old. That brought tears to my eyes. I will never forget this day. So I contribute to my local Food Bank locally.

    This event is great. You always have great ideas.

    My wish is that someday no more kids, in the World, will suffer from hunger.

  6. I have never tried pumpkin in a sweet dish before, but I do love creme brulee, so I am tempted. I cannot imagine how it tastes though.

  7. I've been meaning to try a brulee for a while now. This sounds like a good place to start! Yum!

  8. I have just added butane torch to my list for Santa to bring for me, wink, wink.
    J'adore Crème Brûlées !!

  9. Oh come on! Creme brulee with spices and brandy? That's genius. I've got to try this recipe.

  10. Creme Brulee is my utmost favorite dessert. Love it. This looks delicious. I'd been looking into making a pumpkin version last Thanksgiving but never took the plunge. I think this year I just might give it a try.
    Look forward to your next event with Ivy.

  11. You have been so good to raise awareness on the issues. Thanks for all of your hard work! And you're right, no matter what country you live in or if you celebrate it or not, we all have many reasons to be grateful and thankful.

    This Brulee looks absolutely incredible!

  12. Creme Brulee is such a great base to play with flavors.

  13. As far as desserts go, I have never been the biggest fan of creme brulee and custards in general. But I must say that this looks so, so, so good. It helps that I am a pumpkin fanatic. YUM! And extending the WFD idea is great!

  14. Those creme brulee are gorgeous! What a great spin on a clasic.

    Thank you for highlighting the issues of homelessness and hunger. I find it shocking that in this day and age, and with all of the available resources we have, that anyone should go hungry, especially in either of our countries!

  15. OMG - This recipe scares me - I for sure wouldn't be terribly interested in sharing ANY of the ramekins.

  16. A great idea to combine the pumpkin in the brulee...and another great event to think about! Great stuff Val and Ivy.

  17. Lovely dessert that you have made here, Val!! You two ladies are addressing major issues here and I was shocked to read the statistics that you have mentioned, I always thought it was a problem only existing in Africa.

  18. I tried a pumpkin/sqaush brulee last year and this makes me want to make that again.

  19. Creme brulee... pumpkin even? Wow, I'd love it.

    One of those little torches is going to be on my Christmas list this year!

  20. Ah Val, you did a great job! Here the situation with homeless people is getting worse... this crisis is not helping at all!!!!

    Creme Brulee sounds perfect for these days... Could I have some?

  21. I've made creme brulee for years but never thought to add pumpkin. What a beautiful fall dessert.

  22. Ohhh I have never tried creme brulee and this just looks so good I might have to try it.

  23. Oh this is such a great idea Val for dessert, they look gorgeous!!

    I must think of what I will be submitting for this great event.

    Rosie x

  24. How do I love thee Creme Brulee? Let me count the ways...

    Val, Creme Brulee is my FAVORITE and Pumpkin Creme Brulee is no exception. Thanks for sharing!

  25. I wanted a little butane torch, even told my husband I wanted one. I think I'm gonna have to whine a little louder! This looks wonderful!!

  26. Wow.. I've never thought of pumpkin crème brûlée! It's such a wonderful idea!

  27. I have truly enjoyed reading your post. It's interesting to learn also the difference between the Canadian and American Thanksgiving celebration.
    Oh, and the pumpkin creme brule is in my top priority recipe list!

  28. Another great idea. We don't celebrate Thanksgiving officially, but we do it everyday in my family. My five year old says a prayer of thanks for everything including his Bob the Builder toys. The food's generally cold byt the time he's done.

    The creme brulee looks excellent. And I have my own blowtorch too - makes me feel like Rambo :)

  29. Oh, luscious pumpkin desserts are all over the web lately, and this one is a star, Val! I'm thankful for you! :)

  30. Pumpkin creme brulee, Thats got to taste outstanding!! You're such a thoughtful blogger Val!

  31. Yumm. I just attempted something similar , but yours is far better. Love the brulee topping. Love your new header too!

  32. Thanks for reminding us all how very much we have to be grateful for.

    I love the idea of pumpkin creme brulee!! Inspired - another one for my bookmarks folder.


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