Cheddar Topped Savory Butternut Squash and Apple Crème Brûlée

By Marge Perry & David Bonom

  • Yield:

    Makes 4 servings


  • 1 cup diced butternut squash, about 6 ounces
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons sugar, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch ground nutmeg
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 medium apple, cored and cut into 16 slices
  • 1 1/2 ounces freshly shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese


1. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Place 4 (4-ounce) ramekins in a 13 x 9-inch roasting pan. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil over high heat; remove from the heat.

2. Combine the squash in a small saucepan with enough cold water to cover by 2-inchs over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and cook until the squash is easily pierced with the tip of a knife, about 10 minutes. Drain the squash and transfer to a blender. Add the heavy cream, 1 teaspoon of the sugar and salt to the blender and puree. Pour into a small saucepan and stir in the cinnamon and nutmeg; bring to a simmer over medium heat. Lightly beat the egg yolks in a medium bowl. Whisk a small amount of the hot cream mixture into the egg yolks, then whisk in the remaining cream in 2 additions. Divide the mixture evenly among the ramekins. Pour just enough of the hot water into the roasting pan to come 3/4 of the way up the sides of the ramekins.

3. Bake the custards until they are just set (they should slightly jiggle in the center), about 30-32 minutes. Remove from the oven then use a wide spatula to transfer the ramekins to a heatproof surface.

4. While the custards bake, melt the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the apple slices and sprinkle with the remaining 1 teaspoon sugar. Cook, turning the apple slices once, until tender and just starting to brown, about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove the skillet from the heat. And let cool 5 minutes. 

5. Arrange 4 apple slices in a slightly overlapping layer over the top of each custard. Sprinkle some of the cheese down the center of the apples in a straight line. Working with one custard at a time, move the crème brulee torch in a circular motion about 2-inches above the surface until the sugar melts and browns, about 1-2 minutes.