Spiced Pumpkin Custard Recipe
Pumpkins are loaded with beta-carotene, an important anti-oxidant. They are also a rich source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, potassium, iron & dietary fiber. Pumpkins are also thought to play a role in preventing certain cancers and heart disease. So it’s a healthy dessert to boot, after all – aren’t pumpkins vegetables???
I like using Kabocha Squash (aka Asian Pumpkin) for this dish which are available all year round, especially in Asian grocery stores or markets. If Kabochas are not available in your area, I highly recommend using the small sugar pumpkin variety for this recipe. A great shortcut & timesaver is to use canned pumpkin for this recipe, it will be ready in a snap!
SPICED PUMPKIN CUSTARD
1 cup cooked Kabocha squash, mashed until smooth
¾ cup rice flour
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground allspice
pinch of ground cardamom powder
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
pinch of salt, to taste
½ cup thick coconut milk
½ tsp vanilla extract (or almond extract)
¼ cup sugar, to taste (you can use brown sugar if you wish)
½ cup sweetened coconut flakes for garnish
6-8 small baking ramekins or custard cups (lightly greased), arranged on a baking tray
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the mashed pumpkin with the rice flour, ground cinnamon, ground allspice, ground cardamom powder, freshly grated nutmeg, salt, coconut milk, vanilla extract and sugar. I used a hand held better at this point to make sure the consistency was smooth. Mix until well combined, if the mixture is too thick just add a little coconut milk but it should have the consistency of a thick paste (think hummus!).
You can bake the custard in individual ramekins or in a 9x13 inch baking dish. Just fill up the ramekins equally & place the baking tray on the center rack of your oven. Bake the custard for 30-35 minutes or until the custard is set (a knife inserted in the center comes out clean). Let cool and then chill for at least 2-3 hours in the refrigerator before serving. Garnish liberally with the coconut flakes. You can also add a dollop of whipped cream, ice cream or gelato on top if you like.
Feel free to add some golden raisins, craisins or pieces of toasted unsalted nuts on top in the last 10 minutes of baking for texture & crunch.
For a real Indian touch, add about ½ tsp of chai masala along with the other spices.
If you are really feeing confident, just before serving - sprinkle the top of each ramekin with about 2 tsp of sugar and then melt the sugar using a small hand held torch. If you do not have one of these fun kitchen gadgets, then simply place the ramekins on a baking tray directly under the broiler for just a few minutes until the sugar melts. Then remove and let the ramekins sit in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes before serving.
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