Sunday, November 4, 2012

Pumpkin Custard

First off, I can't believe that I have not posted here in over a year and a half...  

But now I'm back with the best pumpkin custard ever!  And it isn't what you'd expect when you hear "pumpkin custard".  Pumpkin custard could invoke images of pureed pumpkin stirred into a yummy milk, egg, and sugar mixture and baked not in a pie shell like its cousin pumpkin pie but instead in a souffle dish as it sits in a pan of water in the oven.

Well strike that image from your mind, that is not this "Pumpkin Custard".  This custard doesn't have pumpkin in it; this custard is in the pumpkin!  That means no prebaking the pumpkin, scraping the cooked meat from the shell and then pureeing it in the food processor.  A whole afternoon rescued! 

And it is sooo good too, definitely good.  Even f0ur days later. 

So like the original recipe post-er stated, it is a long baking time (90 minutes) but you don't have to also bake the pumpkin first.  Another note about the original recipe, it is call Thai Pumpkin Custard.  I was hoping for a spicy pumpkin custard by googling Thai with pumpkin custard but when this one came up I couldn't resist.  What makes it Thai?  Coconut milk instead of dairy.  Amd yes Dear Reader, pumpkins and winter squashes are popular in Asia.  In fact Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds carries one called Thai Pumkin that I'm going to grow next year  and several other varieties of winter squash that come from Asia.  But use a pumpkin or squash that has an ample cavity.  (I don't think Thai Pumpkin does.)

And it is sooo good too, definitely good. Even f0ur days later.  I made this for a Halloween gathering and everyone who ate it loved it, or at least they said so.  I think the whole coconut milk thing made Dirt afraid of it (he is still claiming to hate coconut in spite of having enjoyed things made with coconut).    Bet nor I could actually taste coconut.   I don't think he would have known about the coconut except that I had him purchase it for me, so he set his jaw against it from the get go. 

To make this you will need:

A pumpkin, a nice medium sized pie pumpkin is perfect, though I'm thinking of trying some of my other winter squashes as well.    I used one of my Winter Luxury Pie pumpkins, it has good flavor and it isn't watery, but it is a netted pumpkin, which was okay, it just lacked something in presentation.

One 13.66 oz. can of coconut milk - not "lite" and not coconut cream.

Nine eggs.  Yep, nine.

One cup of sugar. (The original recipe calls for two cups, the author says it needs it for the bitter pumpkin, I don't think so and no one else who ate ours thought it needed to be sweeter and in fact after eating the last slice this morning, I was thinking it could even be less sweet.)

A pinch of salt.

Two teaspoons of vanilla.   I asked Bet to double it, I'm fairly certain she did, she said she just glurged the vanilla in without measuring.

You will also need a cookie sheet to bake the pumpkin on and an oven set at 375 degrees.  (I'm going to try it in a crock pot soon, I'll let you know how it turns out.)

To make it, you open up the pumpkin like you are starting a Jack O'Lantern and scoop the seeds and stringy insides out, but don't cut into the flesh. Save the top if you want for presentation (it will be baked for half the time on the sheet next to the filled pumpkin.

Put the shell on the cookie sheet.  If you're worried about the shell leaking (it shouldn't) you can use a bar or cake pan.  Place the lid, if you are using it, on the sheet stem up.

Beat the eggs till light.  Mix in the rest of the ingredients and pour into the pumpkin

Bake this puppy in your oven at 375 degrees for an hour and a half.  Take the lid out after forty-five minutes and check the pumpkin and the custard at an hour fifteen minutes.  If the shell is done but the custard isn't (test it the same way you test pumpkin pie - a butter knife inserted carefully into the middle of the custard and if it comes out clean the custard is done.  I used a cake tester on the shell - smaller hole, easier time piercing the skin.)  I would suggest putting a foil tent on the pumpkin so it doesn't burn.  I might even be tempted to make a cape for my pumpkin shell and put it on when I take the lid out or even put it on from the very beginning.  But I would leave a wide opening at the top to match the hole so that the custard cooks properly and has a lovely brown crust.

Make sure you have a formidable spatula or two good ones and maybe some help to lift the pumpkin off the sheet and onto a serving plate.  Cool the Pumpkin Custard, then slice and enjoy!  Once again there were suggestions made on the original that we didn't follow, the author suggests a droozle of maple syrup (hmm this could be her source of bitter) or favorite liquor.  I'm not saying that either one of these would not be fabulous additions, whipped cream would be too, I'm just saying, it didn't need it!-