Pumpkin pie has always been one of my favorite treats at Thanksgiving time, or any other time for that matter. I don’t know if it’s the spices I like most, or the smooth consistency of the filling, or maybe the aroma that fills the house when it’s baking – I just know that I like it! So it’s only natural that I would love this pumpkin custard too, because it has all the flavors of pumpkin pie, but without the crust. And without the crust, pumpkin custard has less calories than pumpkin pie, so I can eat it more often without feeling too guilty!
If you have your own homegrown pumpkin puree, this is a great way to use it. Butternut squash puree works well too. Lately I have been fascinated with growing all kinds of winter squashes, so we usually have an assortment of squash/pumpkin puree in the freezer. They all work in this custard. So does canned pumpkin puree, if you don’t happen to have any homegrown.
I use almond milk in this recipe, but soy or cows milk would work just as well. I can’t think of a good substitute for the maple syrup though. You certainly don’t have to use the most expensive type here. I usually cook with a Grade A Dark Amber maple syrup, which has lots of flavor and isn’t quite as expensive as the lighter grades. But please use real maple syrup, the kind that comes from the cooked-down sap of a maple tree, and not some artificially flavored high-fructose corn syrup. Your taste buds will thank you, and so will the maple syrup farmers and producers.
1 1/4 cups unsweetened almond milk
4 large eggs
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 cup unseasoned pumpkin puree
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
dash ground nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Put a kettle of water on to heat for the water bath. Place six 6-ounce (3/4-cup) custard cups in roasting pan.
2. Heat milk over low heat in a small saucepan until steaming but not boiling, or use microwave to warm.
3. Whisk eggs and syrup in a large mixing bowl until smooth. Gently whisk in the warm milk (a little bit at a time so the eggs don’t cook). Add pumpkin puree, cinnamon, ginger. nutmeg, vanilla and salt; stir until well-combined.
4. Pour the mixture evenly among custard cups in roasting pan. Pour enough boiling water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the custard cups.
5. Bake uncovered until custards are just set but still quiver in the center when shaken, 45 to 50 minutes. Custard should register at least 160°F in the center.
6. Carefully transfer custards to a wire rack and let cool for 30-45 minutes. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or until chilled.
Nutrition (per serving): 142 calories, 36 calories from fat, 4g total fat, 141mg cholesterol, 277.9mg sodium, 194.6mg potassium, 22.1g carbohydrates, 1.5g fiber, 16.3g sugar, 4.9g protein, 144.9mg calcium, 1.1g saturated fat.