Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fall into Autumn with Pumpkin Custards

It’s time to enjoy pumpkin dessert in its many variations. With October here, leaves and temperatures fall, Halloween approaches, and orange pumpkins start appearing everywhere you look.

This recipe attracted me right away with its pumpkin pie flavors and simplicity. Even though the recipe’s so simple, the results deliver a big bang of flavor and appeal for the effort, especially when presented in individual sized ramekins for a welcome ending to a home-cooked meal.

These precious cups of pumpkin custard smell enticing, taste like Halloween and Thanksgiving mixed together, and look round and orangey like the Jack-o-lanterns peppering front porches in our neighborhood. The custard’s creamy texture melts softly in your mouth. I like these even better than pumpkin pie since I’ve always savored the filling more than the crust. Make these for your loved ones soon and enjoy a special, spicy, autumnal treat.

Pumpkin Custard
(Adapted from a recipe printed in Coastal Living, November 2010)

1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk (I used nonfat, which worked out fine)
5 large eggs
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (I like Penzey’s)
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon allspice (or you could use pumpkin pie spice)
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Combine all ingredients in a blender. Pour into lightly greased custard cups or ramekins. Place in a large roasting pan. Add hot water to the pan to a depth of 1 inch. I heated the water in the microwave in a large measuring cup, and then poured it carefully into the pan.

2. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until custard is set. Transfer ramekins to a wire rack to cool. This can be tricky with the hot ramekins and hot water. I used a flat spatula to help move the custards to a wire rack. Once cool, refrigerate until ready to serve. Top with whipping cream or ice cream, or eat as is.

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