So, with the arrival of Fall, a recipe pops up on Yahoo Shine one day—Pumpkin Cheescake Crème Caramel. Yet another category of gluten-free dessert! Ummm . . . . Plus, I’ve never made Crème Caramel. A challenge!
Of course, Crème Caramel is notoriously difficult to make—the syrup, the proper cooking, the flip, the final texture. Was I up to the challenge? Only one way to find out.
This recipe called for a few things I generally don’t keep in the cabinet—canned pumpkin, a block of cream cheese, evaporated milk, heavy cream, orange liqueur. Following a quick trip to the grocery and the liquor store (grocery stores in these parts don’t sell hard liquor) I had assembled what I needed. Note #1: the least expensive orange liqueur option I found was a 200 ml bottle of Triple Sec. This appears to have enough liqueur for at least two tries at the recipe.
The recipe also called for a 5×9 metal loaf pan. I decided rather than purchasing a pan, that I would use a ceramic casserole dish of approximately the same size. Risky, perhaps, but one I was willing to take.
With all of my ingredients and equipment assembled, I was ready to start cooking.
First the caramel sauce. I followed the directions, but found that the sauce did not brown in the allotted 5-7 minutes. I let it simmer for a bit longer and it did start to darken. I then poured it into the ceramic pan and began removing the orange peel. The sauce pooled in the middle of the pan and hardened to a hard candy consistency very quickly—I didn’t have time to spread it around.
Ooohhhh, at this point I’m wondering if I got the sauce right and what the consequences are for the final product. :s Might as well keep going.
Next I mix up the batter. (Is that the correct term?) It is relatively straight forward, but there is a lot of it, and it is liquidy, almost as thin as water. I read the recipe several times, this appears to be correct. Next, it says to pour the “mixture” through a sieve into the pan. Lacking a sieve, I tried using a fine bore shredder. The “mixture” was so liquidy, it didn’t seem to serve any purpose and so eventually I just gave up and poured it directly into the pan. The ceramic casserole was barely big enough for all of the mixture, here’s hoping this one isn’t supposed to rise too much . . . .
The only large pan I had to set the crème caramel pan in was a Pyrex dish. To make sure the Pyrex didn’t shatter from heat stress when I added the boiling water, I put it in the oven to warm up. Open the oven, pop the casserole into the Pyrex pan, fill the outer Pyrex pan with boiling water, and set the time for an hour.
An hour later, the crème caramel has risen a bit, but not too much. A quick test shows it’s still very soft and messy, so, set the timer for 15 more minutes . . . .
This time, knife comes out pretty clean. Good enough. Pop it out, let it cool on the stove top for an hour. Oooh, it’s pulling away from the sides of the casserole already, and it giggles and slides around!!! There appear to be signs that the sauce has righted itself somehow and all is well with my test flan.
Time passes . . . . .
The next day, I decide to flip the flan / crème caramel and see how it turned out. The flip is flawless, there is a bit of residual sauce, and the taste and texture are fine! Very much a cheese-cakey result. It appears the issues with the sauce hardening and the use of a lower profile ceramic pan did not affect the result.
Hmmmm, I wonder if making a true flan is any different? I seem to remember another pumpkin crème caramel minus the cheesecake. Tune in next week . . . . 🙂
Full Recipe Follows
Pumpkin Cheesecake Crème Caramel
Oven Temp: 350
– 1 orange
– 1 1/4 cup(s) sugar
– 1 package(s) (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
– 1 cup(s) canned pure pumpkin, (not pumpkin-pie mix)
– 6 large eggs
– 1 can(s) (12-ounce) evaporated milk
– 1/2 cup(s) heavy or whipping cream
– 1/4 cup(s) orange-flavored liqueur such as Grand Marnier or triple sec
– 1 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract
– 1 teaspoon(s) ground cinnamon
– 1 pinch(s) ground nutmeg
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Fill kettle or covered 4-quart saucepan with water; heat to boiling over high heat.
2. Meanwhile, from orange, with vegetable peeler, remove 6 strips peel, about 3″ by 1″ each. With knife, trim off as much white pith as possible from peel. In 1-quart saucepan, heat orange peel, 3/4 cup sugar, and 1/4 cup water to boiling over medium heat; cover and cook 5 minutes. Remove cover and cook 1 to 2 minutes longer or until sugar mixture is amber in color. Pour hot caramel into 9″ by 5″ metal loaf pan. With fork, remove and discard orange peel. (Hold loaf pan with pot holders to protect hands from heat of caramel.) Set pan aside.
3. In large bowl, with mixer on medium speed, beat cream cheese and remaining 1/2 cup sugar 2 minutes, occasionally scraping bowl with rubber spatula. Beat in pumpkin, then eggs, 1 at a time. Reduce speed to low; beat in evaporated milk, cream, liqueur, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pinch salt just until well mixed.
4. Pour pumpkin mixture through medium-mesh sieve over caramel in loaf pan, pressing it through with rubber spatula. Place loaf pan in 13″ by 9″ baking pan; place in oven. Carefully pour boiling water into baking pan to come three-quarters up sides of loaf pan.
5. Bake 1 hour and 10 to 15 minutes or until knife inserted 1 inch from edge of custard comes out clean (center will jiggle). Remove loaf pan from baking pan to cool on wire rack 1 hour. Cover and refrigerate crème caramel at least 8 hours or overnight.
6. To unmold, run small metal spatula or knife around sides of loaf pan; invert crème caramel onto serving plate. Leave loaf pan in place several minutes, allowing caramel syrup to drip from pan onto loaf. (Don’t worry if some caramel remains in loaf pan.)
7. Do ahead: Bake dessert up to 2 days ahead. Leave in loaf pan for easy transporting, and unmold at your destination. Since the shape of the dessert is unusual and there is a lot of caramel sauce, don’t forget to bring a deep rectangular platter.