Pumpkin and Lemon Creme Brulee
October, 2005

Serves 10 / A light, fresh, easy-to-make version of the classic dessert. This can be cooked in a single serving dish or in individual ramekins. The pumpkin also sneaks in some beta-carotene and vitamin C.

2 tea bags of lemon verbena, lemon balm, or chamomile tea
1/2 cup boiling water
2 cups reduced-fat (2 percent) milk
1 1/2 cups evaporated skim milk
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2/3 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin
3 eggs
4 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
7 ounces fat-free sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
8 ounces low-fat cream cheese
1/2 cup brown sugar, for topping

1. Preheat oven to 325°. Combine tea bags and boiling water in a glass measuring cup. Steep for 30 minutes. Strain and reserve liquid.
2. Combine milk, evaporated skim milk, and cornstarch in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and transfer to a food processor along with pumpkin, whole eggs, egg whites, vanilla extract, sweetened condensed milk, maple syrup, cream cheese, and 3 tablespoons of reserved tea liquid. Process until very smooth.
3. Divide into individual ramekins, or one 8-cup ovenproof serving dish. Place in a large baking pan and pour boiling water around base to reach halfway up sides of ramekins or dish. Bake for 30–45 minutes (depending on dish size) until center is almost set.
4. When cool, cover and chill for at least 3 hours or overnight. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before serving.
5. Just before serving, preheat broiler. Place 1/2 cup brown sugar in a blender and process until very fine. Sprinkle each serving with 2 teaspoons brown sugar. Set ramekins or serving dish on a baking sheet and broil 2–3 inches from heat until sugar bubbles, about 1 minute. Watch carefully to avoid burning. (This step can also be done with a kitchen blowtorch.) Serve immediately.

PER SERVING: 246 cal, 24% fat cal, 7g fat, 4g sat fat, 78mg chol, 12g protein, 36g carb, 0g fiber, 266mg sodium