sugar + spice

“every leaf speaks bliss to me,
fluttering from the autumn tree.”
– emily bronte

{photo by karen bee}

hello friends,
even though it’s blazing hot here in my city by the bay, my daydreams are filled with fall…
so i can’t help but share with all of you one of the many fantastic fall recipes i’ve been craving this season. it’s a playful combination of three of my favorite things – pumpkin {i adore pumpkin everything!}, chai {skim chai lattes are my saving grace} and the heavenly pots de creme {as every francophile should}. it’s a dessert that, in their darling ramekins, will charm your friends and leave them dreaming of the next time they can come over. and it’s a heavenly dish that celebrates everything i love about this magical time of year.
and for my fellow domestic goddess pals – what dishes are you craving this season? i can’t wait to hear all of your delicious ideas!
here’s to a little more spice in our life!

 pumpkin chai pots de crème

prep and cook time: about 1 1/4 hours, plus 1 1/2 hours to cool and chill.

yield: makes 6 servings


* 1 cup whipping cream
* 1 cup whole milk
* 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
* 6 large egg yolks
* 1/4 cup granulated sugar
* 1/2 cup canned cooked pumpkin
* 1/3 cup chai tea concentrate or strong brewed chai tea
* 2 teaspoons grated orange peel or Meyer lemon peel
* 1 teaspoon vanilla
* Pumpkin seed brittle (recipe follows)


1. preheat oven to 325° (convection not recommended). in a 2- to 3-quart pan over medium heat, stir cream, milk, and brown sugar until sugar is dissolved, 2 to 4 minutes. remove from heat.

2. in a bowl, whisk egg yolks until light yellow. add granulated sugar and whisk until blended. gradually whisk a fourth of the hot cream mixture into the egg mixture. then slowly whisk in remaining cream mixture and the pumpkin, chai, orange peel, and vanilla.

3. divide mixture among six ramekins (3/4 cup). set in a 12- by 16-inch roasting pan at least 2 inches deep. set pan in oven and pour in boiling water to halfway up sides of ramekins.

4. bake until custards barely jiggle when gently shaken, 45 to 50 minutes. lift ramekins out of water and let cool on racks for 30 minutes, then chill until cold, at least 1 hour. cover when cold.

5. shortly before serving, garnish with shards of pumpkin seed brittle.

pumpkin seed brittle: in a heavy 6- to 8-inch frying pan over medium-high heat, stir 1/3 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water until sugar is dissolved, 1 to 2 minutes. cook without stirring, shaking pan often, until mixture is a deep amber color, 5 to 10 minutes. remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup hulled roasted pumpkin seeds (sometimes sold as pepitas). pour onto a 12- by 15-inch piece of buttered foil and spread thin. let cool until hard, 6 to 10 minutes. cut or break brittle into about 1/2-inch shards. store airtight, if not using at once.

notes: you can make the custards and pumpkin seed brittle up to 1 day ahead. cover and chill custards; store brittle airtight at room temperature.

bon appetit!

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Leave a Comment


  1. Jessica wrote:

    This recipe sounds delicious! It’s just starting to feel like fall in my part of the country and I couldn’t be happier! Fall makes me all giddy like a kid in a candy shop. 🙂

    Posted 10.14.10 Reply
  2. Fuyume wrote:

    ooo yummy im not even sure they sell canned pumpkin in the uk tho :/ im a new follower found u thru IFB

    Posted 10.13.10 Reply
  3. Amazing photo! The recipe sounds out of this world delicious. I’m obsessed with pumpkiny treats. I made a pumpkin pie this past weekend, but making my favorite today- chocolate chip pumpkin bread 😀

    Posted 10.13.10 Reply
  4. Pumpkin chai pot de cremes? How completely outrageous and divine!

    I baked a pumpkin pie this weekend and we’ve polished off 3/4 of it already!

    Posted 10.13.10 Reply
  5. Samantha wrote:

    Yum! Those look delicious. I think I might bake something fall-ish today : ) It looks like fall in Massachusetts but it doesnt feel like it. Perfect combination!


    Posted 10.13.10 Reply
  6. Julie S. wrote:

    I am craving turkey dinner with all of the trimmings, hot apple cider, pumpkin bread, and sugar cookies. YUM!

    Posted 10.13.10 Reply
  7. Jamie wrote:

    I can’t WAIT until it feels more fallish in L.A.! Thanks for sharing this recipe, excited to give it a try. xo

    Posted 10.13.10 Reply
  8. Cara wrote:

    Fall is by far my favorite time of year. If you love pumpkins, you should try the seared scallops and pumpkin soup I posted the other day. It is awesome!

    Posted 10.13.10 Reply