For many dessert lovers, crème brûlée is the ultimate indulgence, but one that they feel guilty about because of its formidable fat content. If you are a crème brûlée lover, you are in luck with this recipe. Low-fat milk replaces the cream and the number of egg yolks has been reduced, but the thick, rich texture of pumpkin puree makes up the difference.

Creme brulee Image - Masterfile


3 large eggs

2 large egg whites

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups low-fat (1%) milk

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon allspice

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2/3 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin puree

1/3 cup packed light brown sugar


1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the whole eggs, egg whites, granulated sugar and salt.

2. In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and white pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Whisking constantly, add about 1 cup of the hot milk to the egg mixture to warm it. Then stir the warmed egg mixture back into the pan and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the mixture coats the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes.

3. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Gently whisk the pumpkin puree into the custard mixture until well combined but not frothy and pour into six 8-ounce ramekins or custard cups. Line the bottom of a baking pan (large enough to comfortably hold all the ramekins) with paper towels and place the ramekins on top. Pour boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins and bake until the custard is set but still slightly wobbly, about 45 minutes. Cool on a wire rack, then refrigerate.

4. Just before serving time, preheat the broiler. Place the brown sugar in a fine-mesh sieve and sprinkle the tops of the custards evenly. Place the custards on a baking sheet and broil 6 inches from the heat until the tops have caramelized, 2 to 3 minutes. Watch the custards carefully so they don’t burn. Cool for several minutes before serving. Makes 6 servings

Nutrition Facts

per serving
calories 176
total fat 3.4g
saturated fat 1.3g
cholesterol 110mg
dietary fiber 1g
carbohydrate 30g
protein 7g
sodium 194mg

Good source of: beta carotene, riboflavin, selenium, vitamin B12

Kitchen Tip

To check whether a custard is done, dip a spoon into it. If the custard coats the spoon evenly, it’s ready. You can test it further by drawing a line across the custard-coated spoon with your finger. If it leaves a track (instead of closing up), it’s thick enough.

If you are carefully watching your sodium, be sure to read this before preparing this recipe: Sodium Intake and Salt in Recipes

From The Johns Hopkins Cookbook Library: Recipes for a Healthy Heart, edited by Simeon Margolis, M.D., Ph.D. and Lora Brown Wilder, Sc.D., M.S., R.D.

Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at

Published: 27 Oct 2011

Last Modified: 24 Mar 2015