One of the main reasons I eat pumpkin pie is the custard filling. So I figured I’d just cut to the chase and make the pumpkin custard.
This is a simple, one-bowl recipe, and it works as breakfast, snack, or dessert. Dress it with whipped coconut cream, a dollop of yogurt, a crumble of nuts, or just have it solo.
As you read the recipe, you will come across the part about creating a water bath for the pumpkin custard. You may be tempted to skip this step, and you could, but your custard will likely crack, separate from the sides of the ramekins, and burn.
Here’s the reasoning: The pumpkin custard is thickened by the egg proteins, and sets well below 212°F (180°C), the boiling point for water. Unless the proteins are protected from the high heat of the oven, they’ll overcook and tighten or shrink, causing the custard to crack or separate into curdled egg and liquid. A water bath insulates custards from the direct heat of the oven because water can’t get hotter than 212°F (180°C), compared to the 350°F (180°C) oven. So the water bath protects the custard from overheating.
Yield 6 servings
Make sure to use ramekins or oven-proof bowls that can hold between 4 and 8 ounces (between 118 and 237 ml). The water bath is essential to keeping the custard from cracking while it’s baking.
Another option is to bake all the custard in one large baking dish, which may take longer to bake but is easier to use to serve various portion sizes, and creates fewer dishes.
While not sweetener-free, this recipe taps into the sweetness of the squash puree, vanilla and cinnamon to sweeten the custard. If you prefer your custard a little less sweet, you can reduce the sweetener by 1 to 2 tablespoons.
If you’re following SCD, use honey instead of maple syrup.
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C, or gas mark 4).
- Prepare a deep baking dish with 6 ramekins or other oven-proof bowls, and add enough water to the baking dish to reach 3/4 of the way up the sides of the ramekins.
- In a mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients and whisk or mix until well blended.
- Fill each ramekin a little more than halfway with the pumpkin custard.
- Bake for 45 minutes, or until the pumpkin custard is set.
- Cool for about an hour and then store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. You can make this a few days ahead as well.
- Serve with whipped coconut cream (see below) or maple whipped cream on top.
Whipped Coconut Cream
Yield 1/2 cup
I use coconut milk in a container for coconut cream, but cans will work also. I make sure there are no other ingredients added to the coconut milk, and I prefer this brand. You can also buy coconut cream separately. Occasionally I open a container that doesn’t have enough cream, so I usually add two coconut milk containers to the refrigerator, just in case.
- 1/2 cup coconut cream
- 1 teaspoon honey (or maple syrup)
- Place the coconut milk in the refrigerator for 24 hours. This allows the cream to separate from the milk.
- Chill a metal bowl in the freezer 15 minutes before you plan on making the whipped cream.
- The coconut cream will separate on the top of the container. Separate the coconut cream from the remaining liquid and place it in the chilled bowl with the honey (or maple syrup).
- Use a standing mixer (with a whipping attachment) or hand blender to whip the coconut cream for about a minute, or until it is light and fluffy.
- Use the whipped cream immediately, or store in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.