Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Simple pumpkin custard

On Saturday I got to enjoy an evening with friends. After a dinner of tasty Burmese food, we retired to our friends' house for socializing and a really fun movie. However, as it was also a birthday party, the house was full of cake, chocolate-chip cookies, and lots of movie-style candy. It was serious temptation. I am able to devour sweets like a starving, rapacious beast.

I came prepared, and while everyone else was indulging in the buffet of sugar, I enjoyed my movie snack of walnuts and raisins. However, a psychological need was still present. I wanted dessert, and I was not going to be satisfied until I obtained it. Fortunately, I knew just what to do.

Pumpkin Custard
1 C pureed pumpkin*
1/4 C honey
3/4 C milk
1 egg
scant 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice mix

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Have four 1-cup glass custard cups handy. (Mine fit nicely into an 8 x 8 square pan, which means I can transport them easily all at once to and from the oven.)

Mix all ingredients until well blended. Divide equally among the four cups. Bake until the edges are firm (middle can be still a little bit liquid), about 25 to 30 minutes. Can be served warm (if you're impatient, like me) or cool.

*Try making your own pumpkin puree the next time sugar pumpkins are available. They're called sugar or pie pumpkins to distinguish them from the large jack-o'-lantern style ones. Cooked pumpkin can be pureed in your blender or food processor and stored as 1-cup servings in plastic bags in the freezer. Any time you want it for cooking, just defrost a bag or two and you're good to go.

This recipe was modified from the pumpkin pie recipe in my old Betty Crocker cookbook. In general, honey can be substituted for sugar in recipes, but you have to account for 1) the more concentrated sweetness in honey and 2) the additional liquid. So 1/3 C brown sugar + 1 T white sugar turned into 1/4 C honey, and I reduced the stated amount of milk.

A cup of pumpkin custard really hit the spot! Of course, now I'm thinking it would go really well with some whipped cream.

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