I love custard! One thanksgiving we made pumpkin creme brulee instead of the conventional pumpkin pie. Well, it was amazing of course, and I thought nothing could top it, until, well, I did, literally topped it with whipped cream. For my best non-pie creation, I meditated on how to take this dessert to the limit. I increased the pumpkin and spice, dropped the brulee, flavored the whipped cream, and added crumbled bits of ginger cookies to the bottom. The result is a luscious but balanced, not too sweet, holiday-flavor-savor-lick-the-dish dessert! —American Gastronomic
In a large bowl whisk together egg yolks and salt until yolks lighten in color. Set aside.
In a sauce pot, stir to combine cream, pumpkin, spices and maple syrup and heat until just simmering. Remove from heat.
Slowly pour the cream/pumpkin mixture into the yolks while rapidly whisking to combine.
Divide the ginger cookie pieces among 8 ramekin containers. Pour the pumpkin creme mixture over the ginger cookies, until evenly divided.
Place ramekins on a deep baking pan on the middle rack of a 375 F degree preheated oven. Pour hot water into the baking pan until it reaches just under half way up the sides of the ramekin dishes. Bake for 35 minutes. Remove the dishes from the water bath and set aside to cool. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.
To make the whipped cream: Combine cream, maple syrup, and orange extract in a large mixing bowl. Whisk by hand or with mixer until soft peaks can easily maintain shape. In a food processor or blender, pulse the fresh cranberries as finely as possible, then fold this into the whipped cream until fully combined.
When you are ready to serve, remove the ramekins from the fridge, add a healthy swirl of whipped cream and enjoy!