Friday, May 9, 2014

Magazine Challenge: Pumpkin Maple Custards

When I lived in France, I was introduced to a huge variety of new food that I ate to be polite and learned to love.  One of the things that I tasted for the first time was creme brulee.  I adore creme brulee.  The sugar to crack through with a spoon, the creamy delicious.  One of the best meals I've ever had was a prix fixe lunch at the OXO Tower in London.  It finished with rhubarb creme brulee.  So good.
This is a funny way to introduce a non creme brulee recipe.  What this recipe has in common with my favourite dessert is the baked custard in a water bath.  Well, that and this custard would be amazing with a caramelized sugar topping.  But alas, I have no propane torch.  And frankly, it's a tasty meal-ender with just whipped cream on top.
I founded this last year in an Everyday Food from 2005.  But when I unearthed a container of leftover pumpkin in my freezer, I knew I needed to give it a shot.  I present to you now from the October 2005 issue of Everyday Food, Pumpkin Maple Custard:

1 c heavy cream
3/4 c milk
3/4 c maple syrup
3/4 c pure solid-pack pumpkin puree
7 egg yolks
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp salt

1.  Preheat oven to 325F.  Fold a tea towel and line a 9x13" pan.  Arrange 6 7oz. ramekins in the pan.
2.  In a large glass measuring cup, whisk yolks and spices until light.  In a medium saucepan, combine cream, milk, syrup and pumpkin.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly.
3.  Whisking constantly, pour cream mixture slowly into the yolk mixture so that the yolks do not cook in the hot cream.  Once combined, divide the mixture evenly between the ramekins in the prepared pan.  Pour boiling water into the 9x13" pan, until it is about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. 
4.  Bake custards at 325F for 40-45 minutes, until the custards are set, and a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean.  Cool completely before refrigerating, covered.
From Everyday Food, October 2005 (You're going to have to believe me.  Martha's site does not contain this recipe.)

Here are the yolks, ready for the cream.  Constant whisking is key for the yolks not to cook in the boiling cream.  If they do cook, strain the liquid before baking.  Custard shouldn't be...well...chewy.
This was violently orange as it cooked.  The pumpkin took some time to smooth out and melt into the cream and syrup.  But all was well when I reached the simmer point.
When arranging the towel and the ramekins, try and keep them as level as possible.  I poured the water in on top of the stove and then put it in the oven.  I know there was a good deal of space between the top of the water and the top of the ramekin, but I'd be tempted to set the custards on the oven rack and add the water.

It's really pumpkin pie filling without the crust.  But so yummy!  Even without the sugar crust.


  1. You can't go wrong with custard. It's just good. And I am personally never a big fan of pie crust, so I would not miss that in the least! These look awesome for sure.

  2. I made these for SRC - they were so good!