Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Maple Pumpkin Custards

Every year around this time I make a few pumpkin custards to savor on the weekend or when I want the soothing flavor of pumpkin pie without having to roll out, crimp & bake a crust.  From year to year I alter my ingredients here and there just to see what certain combinations taste like, sometimes using a little more spice and one less egg or using soy milk instead of regular organic milk; they've all been good to me.  The one thing I do try to stay consistent about is the pumpkin itself.  I always want the delicious flavor of the squash to shine through so I try hard not to mask it with too many ingredients.

Because it's so easy to whip up a batch of these delightfully spiced desserts, I like to have a few leftover for us to enjoy the next day.  You can use a can of store bought pumpkin puree to make the custards, but if you happen to have some freshly made roasted pumpkin in the refrigerator or freezer, by all means use it.  I think roasting pumpkins concentrates the flavor and sweetness of these autumnal vegetables, so I encourage all of you bakers out there to try cooking them this way at least once or twice.

For this particular batch I decided to use a very flavorful grade A dark amber, pure maple syrup from Vermont as the sweetener instead of the usual brown sugar.  If you want a deeper & more pronounced flavor, try using a grade B maple syrup.  Eggs, milk & a handful of spices make up the rest of the wholesome ingredients which produce a most silky, smooth and satisfying custard.  It's good enough for anyone who adores the flavor of pumpkin.

Maple Pumpkin Custard in a Wedgwood teacup.

Pumpkin Custard Ingredients
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups milk {354 ml}, room temperature
  • 2 cups roasted pumpkin puree {475 grams}, canned is OK
  • 2/3 cup pure maple syrup {175 ml}
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon {5 ml}
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger {3.75 ml}
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg {2.5 ml}
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt {1.25 ml}

Yield: 8 custards (the recipe can be halved or doubled)
Equipment: 8 ramekins, custard cups or heatproof cups with an 8oz. capacity & a roasting pan large enough to contain them.


Preheat oven to 350° F (177°C).
Place racks in the lower half.
Fill a teakettle with water & bring to a boil.

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs until lightened.  Sift the spices & salt into the bowl and whisk to combine.  Add the maple syrup & milk; whisk to combine well.

Lastly, add the pumpkin puree and whisk to combine thoroughly, until the custard is smooth and not lumpy.

Carefully space the custard cups in a deep roasting pan with plenty of room in between them.  Pour boiling water to come halfway up the cups (be careful when doing this!).

Divide the custard evenly between the 8 cups being careful not to drop any into the water.  The easiest way for me to get this done without being messy is to either ladle the custard into the cups or to transfer it to a large measuring pitcher with a spout and then pouring.

Transfer the roasting pan into the preheated oven.

Bake for approximately 45-50 minutes,
or until the custards are set and not watery (it's OK if they have a little jiggle in the middle).

Remove the cups with tongs onto racks to cool completely.

The custards can be served at room temperature or chilled.  They will keep for up to two days in the refrigerator as long as they're tightly covered with plastic wrap.


I used white bone china cups from my collection of Wedgwood to bake the custards, because they are beautiful vessels which stand up to the heat of a bain marie.  I served them on their saucers with antique silver teaspoons.

Delicious!


I don't know about you, but the best way to enjoy any custard is straight out of the refrigerator while it's still cold.  A small dollop of freshly whipped cream sweetened with a tiny amount of sugar and flavored with a drop or two of pure vanilla extract is a nice touch, yet I can do just as well without it.  My first taste of one of these custards is always pure delight, and my subsequent spoonfuls are an absolute indulgence.  By the time I'm done eating one I'm always tempted to have another on the spot, but I always manage to stop myself.  I hope some of you try these wonderful pumpkin custards the next time you find yourself with a bit of pumpkin puree and a hankering for the flavor of Fall.  Let me know what you think!

4 comments:

  1. can you tell me when you add the milk Did I miss something,, They look great!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Did you leave out the milk for a reason.. Sounds wonderful

    ReplyDelete
  3. You're right!! I didn't add it!! YIKES. Doing it now, thank you for pointing it out.

    ReplyDelete

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