Pumpkin Custards

Smooth, silky, pleasantly spiced and very much of the season, Pumpkin Custards are absolutely delicious.  Everyone seems to be in such a rush around Thanksgiving to bake & roast the perfect meal, that many seem to take dessert for granted.  This doesn't have to be the case if you arm yourself with a good, reliable recipe that is fool-proof and full of the season's flavors. 

One of the added benefits about my custards is that they are absolutely gluten-free!  Several of my friends have a gluten intolerance but still crave the flavor of pumpkin pie.  For them, my Pumpkin Custards are just the thing to eat.  Yes, they're also a Good Thing for those who claim they don't have time to make & roll out a pie crust (even for those who are too timid to make a homemade pie crust!).  These little custards can be whipped up the day before the feast and be kept in the refrigerator until dessert time.  I think once you taste how utterly delicious my custards are, you're going to be tempted to make them time & time again.  Let's start baking! 

Pumpkin Custard

The Ingredients

  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • pinch of cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch (or tapioca starch)
  • 12 oz. can evaporated milk (2% or whole milk)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup (Grade A or B) or honey
  • 15 oz. can pumpkin puree (not pie filling!)

Equipment: 8 ramekins or custard cups with a 4oz. (1/2cup) capacity.

Bring a teakettle to a boil and find a roasting pan or baking pan that can hold all of your ramekins with space in between them. 

Preheat your oven to 350° F

Whisk your eggs in a medium-sized bowl. 

Sift the spices, salt & cornstarch over the beaten eggs.  This will help prevent the spices from clumping in your custard.  A very Good Thing.  Whisk until completely combined.  Add the milk and vanilla extract; whisk to combine thoroughly.

With the same sifter, strain the light brown sugar into the custard to remove any lumps.  If you find small bits of hardened brown sugar that won't go through the sifter, discard them.  You can push the brown sugar through the strainer with a whisk, but it's much easier to use a spatula.  Don't forget to scrape the bottom of the sieve!  Now whisk in the maple syrup (or honey).  Add the pumpkin puree and mix until the custard is smooth. 

Voila!  The fragrant, spicy Pumpkin Custard ready to be portioned out. 

With a 4 oz. ladle, portion out the custard evenly among the 8 ramekins taking care not to dribble down the sides of the cups.  The ramekins are sitting inside a roasting pan and are staggered, giving them plenty of room.

Carefully pour enough boiling water into the pan so that it comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins.  Don't let any water fall into the cups.

Bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes.  The custards should be set and not wiggle.  The tops may brown slightly and may even puff up a little.  Upon cooling they will settle.

Remove them from the water bath and let them cool completely on wire racks before serving.  I prefer a cold custard, but they can certainly be served at room temperature.

 Bring them to the table & watch them disappear!

A most creamy custard.  Delicious.

Simple to make and bake, and positively scrumptious to eat, my Pumpkin Custards are sure to please everyone at your Thanksgiving table.  Don't forget to provide some sweetened whipped cream or a bit of crème fraîche for each serving, but remember, only one custard per guest.  I know, who am I kidding, right?  There are those who will insist on seconds, so I strongly advise you to double the recipe if you wish.  Just make sure you have enough custard cups (teacups can be used in a pinch!) and plenty of spoons. 

I want to wish everyone a safe & wonderful Thanksgiving.  May you be surrounded by loved ones, delicious food and lots of good cheer  Enjoy!

~ David ~


  1. These look really good. You said that cups can be used instead of ramekins to make the custards. What kind of cups would you use if one chose to do this with them?


  2. Hi there,

    You can use any type of cup that is oven proof, like say porcelain or tempered glass. I wouldn't use antique cups or very fine china if I were you. As long as they seem sturdy you shouldn't have any problems.



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