These make-ahead Maple Pumpkin Pots de Crème have an amazingly silky smooth texture. Each delicious bite is bursting with warm-spiced flavor – a beautiful, gourmet alternative to pie!
I love serving these Maple Pumpkin Pots de Crème for dinner parties, as all the work can be done a day or two ahead. All I do the day of the party is dollop them with a scoop of whip cream and perhaps a few toasted or candied pecans. If I’m feeling really fancy, I might run out and cut a sprig or two of mint. Then I pull out a pretty plate and, voila! a magically delicious, gourmet (and gluten-free) dessert!
What is Pot de Crème?
Pot de Crème, pronounced POH-də-KREM is a is a delicious French, custard-like dessert that dates back to the 17th century. The name actually means “pot of custard” or “pot of cream”. The name also refers to the small porcelain cups in which the dessert was/is traditionally served.
The plural of Pot de Crème is Pots de Crème and is pronounced exactly like the singular (without the “s”). Just between you and me, I thought that if we’re serving a fancy dessert like this, we should sound nice and fancy and a maybe even a little French. (See, I’ve got you covered, all the way around!)
How to serve this dessert
Although these Maple Pumpkin Pots de Crème need to be refrigerated for an hour or two after baking, I like to take them out of the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before serving. Giving them a chance to warm up a bit, brings out even more of the fabulous flavor. They’re delicious with a pretty dollop of whipped cream. You can also add a few toasted or candied pecans or serve them with a simple shortbread cookie on the side.
The ingredient list for these pots de crème is short; sugar, heavy cream, maple syrup, pumpkin puree, egg yolks, and spices. The sugar is caramelized which adds a fabulous depth of flavor. How does this work? Sugar is just simmered with water, maple syrup and a tiny splash of corn syrup (magical in preventing crystallization).
The cream, pumpkin and spices are added next and finally egg yolks are SLOWLY drizzled in. This is called tempering and, put simply, it means that you’re keeping the eggs from scrambling when they hit the hot liquid. As long as you add the liquid slowly, you’ll be good to go!
Café Tips for making these Maple Pumpkin Pots de Crème
- It’s not absolutely necessary, but I like to pour the pumpkin mixture through a fine-mesh sieve before baking. This really gives the dessert a super silky smooth texture. Once you have a fine-mesh sieve you’ll find it’s a wonderful item to have on hand for lots of recipes. They’re not expensive and are easy to store. I love this three piece sieve set which would make a wonderful gift for someone who’s getting started in the kitchen.
- This recipe calls for pumpkin pie spice which is a wonderful combination of autumn-spices and is available at most grocery stores along with the other spices. You can also easily make your own pumpkin pie spice.
- You’ll also need some small oven-safe bowls, ramekins or jars to bake these Maple Pumpkin Pots de Crème in. There are pots that are specifically made for Pots de Crème or you can use whatever you have. I love these Weck Tulip Jars. They’re simple yet elegant.
- After a big meal, you may want to use smaller individual bowls or ramekins for smaller servings. I really like these 4-ounce oven-safe bowls for serving Pot de Crème.
- This recipe yields 6-8 servings, depending on the size of your bowls/jars/ramekins.
- Once the ingredients are combined and poured into the baking cups (or Pots de Crème pots) you’ll be using a bain-marie to bake them. You don’t need any special tools for a bain-marie, just a pan and some hot water. Bain-marie is a fancy French word for water bath which just means you’re baking the little jars or pots in a pan of water. This keeps the silky custard from scorching and or curdling.
- I like to put a clean wash cloth in my pan before adding the jars and the hot water. It keeps the jars from sliding around as I’m transferring them to and from the oven.
- I find it easier to put the pan with the filled jars into the oven and then add the hot water.
If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It’s so helpful to other readers to hear other’s results and ideas for variations.
- 1 ¾ cups heavy cream
- ¾ cup pumpkin puree
- ⅓ cup dark brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon white corn syrup
- ½ cup pure maple syrup
- 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 8 large egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- freshly whipped, cream (lightly sweetened(
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- Preheat oven to 325˚F with a rack in the middle position. Place six 4-6-ounce ramekins in a 2-inch sided baking pan (I use a 9x13-inch cake pan).
Whisk together cream, pumpkin, dark brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice in a medium size bowl (preferably, with a pouring spout). Set aside.
- Bring water, corn syrup, maple syrup and the 6 tablespoons granulated sugar to a boil in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring with a fork in the center of the pan until sugar is dissolved. Boil without stirring, swirling pan occasionally, until mixture has gone from light to dark amber, about 6-8 minutes. Watch the mixture carefully towards the end as once it begins to turn color it will change fairly quickly.
Remove from heat. Carefully add cream/pumpkin mixture (mixture may bubble up and steam). Whisk until combined. If caramel mixture does not completely dissolve, return pot to heat and stir for a minute or two until dissolved.
- Combine the egg yolks and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Add the egg yolks to the hot cream mixture in a SLOW, STEADY stream, whisking continuously. (Adding the eggs slowly will keep them from scrambling in the hot cream mixture.)
Pour custard through a fine-mesh sieve back into the egg yolk bowl. Divide custard among ramekins or pots in the pan. Pour hot water into pan the ramekins are in to reach about half way up the sides. Bake, uncovered, until custards are set around edges, but still tremble slightly in centers, about 35-45 minutes.
- Remove from the water bath with a tongs or pot holder. Allow to cool for 20 minutes, then refrigerate until 30 minutes before serving. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before serving. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream.
See Café Tips above in post for further instructions and more detailed tips.
This recipe will serve 6-8, depending on the size of your bowls or ramekins.
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