The pumpkins. They’re everywhere!
Piles of them crowding the front steps of the market.
Plastic, glittery and foam varieties crowding the shelves at the mega-mart.
Magazine covers, television commercials, cooking shows - pumpkins galore!
The world has gone pumpkin crazy. And why wouldn’t it? We celebrate the roundy orange (and green and blue and…) wonders just one season a year and sometimes that just doesn’t seem like enough.
I hate the feeling that I’m rushing something, but I’ve been thinking about pumpkins for weeks around here. It seems weird because I’m still very committed to apple season, but the pumpkins keep edging their way in - luring me with spicy promises of pie and steamy whispers of hot curry.
Because I’m straddling the abyss of pumpkin-stuff and haven’t completely given myself to the season, I have yet to bake a pumpkin pie or slow cook a batch of pumpkin butter. We haven’t found our perfect specimens for carving or roasted any seeds for snacks.
But we have made pumpkin custard.
I developed the recipe to be as easy as possible and to only call on ingredients I have in my pantry or fridge. No cans of evaporated milk. No need for a carton of heavy cream. No pastry dough. Buying (or making) these things seems like too much of a commitment to me and, like I said, I’m just not there yet.
But this custard is perfect. An ideal way to enjoy pumpkin while not fully committing to the full on pumpkin madness. Make this custard - It’s exactly what you need right now. And then, before you know it, it will be time to start busting out the pies.
Serves 6 (4 oz portions)
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 cup half & half (substitute whole milk if you must)
- 1/4 c pure Grade B maple syrup
- 15 oz canned pumpkin
- 1/2 c light brown sugar (not packed, simply scoop into a measuring cup then level)
- 1 1/2 t Chinese Five Spice powder
- 1/2 t kosher salt
- 1 T vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350. Butter your 4-ounce ramekins: you’ll need 6. Place the ramekins into a 9x13 (or similar pan, so long as they fit and have space around them to ‘breathe’.) Set a kettle of water to boil.
- Whisk together the 3 eggs.
- Add the half & half to the eggs and whisk together.
- Add the maple syrup to the above and whisk again.
- Add the pumpkin and whisk until it is completely incorporated.
- Add the brown sugar, Chinese Five Spice, salt and vanilla and whisk until it all disappears.
- Using your immersion blender, blend the mixture until it is smooth and silky.
- Portion the custard into the prepared ramekins that you have placed in the 9x13 pan.
- Slide the pan into the oven, then pour the boiling water into the 9x13 pan - allowing it to come up to the halfway mark of the ramekins.
- Bake 30 minutes until set, then carefully slide the 9x13 pan out of the oven onto a cooling rack, taking care to not slosh the water into your custards.
- Enjoy the custard warm or refrigerate until cold. Either way, it’s delicious with on its own (or with a cup of good tea,) or with some fresh and lightly whipped cream. This cream part I’d seriously only do for dinner guests…the custard really needs no help to be truly delicious.