Pumpkin Pots de Creme

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custards & pudding / desserts & sweets / fall / In the Garden / In the Kitchen / Uncategorized
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I‘m not much for the pumpkin spice hype that comes in play at the first sign of frost. I am however, a pumpkin fiend. I love it sweet, I love it savory. With butter, as butter, warm and spicy; it brings me joy. While we have ripe pumpkins coming off the vine this early September, I’m not quite ready to jump head first into pie mode. This time of year, when it is warm during the day, but the sunrise and set are accompanied by a slight chill, I make custard. Not quite a pudding, pots de creme are a perfect spotlight for a delicate blend of spices and rich pumpkin puree. Something quite important when making these….you must not overcook. Pull these out of the oven before they are fully set.

Pots de Creme
(makes 5-6)

1 cup pumpkin puree
5 egg yolks
1/2 cup + 2 Tbs dark brown sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk {i use goat milk}
generous pinch kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground ginger
generous pinch cardamom, allspice, cinnamon, fresh nutmeg
whipped cream -for serving

If using fresh pumpkin puree, make sure it is very smooth. Set aside. Whisk {either by hand or with electric mixer} eggs and brown sugar until the sugar is completely melted and the eggs seem lighten in color and thicken a bit. Heat the milk, cream and salt in a saucepan until bubbles just start to form. Slowly whisk the hot milk into the egg until well incorporated. You are tempering the eggs with the hot milk. Whisk in the pumpkin puree and the spices. Run through a sieve into a spouted measuring cup. Use a spatula to scrape as many pumpkin solids as possible through the sieve. Give a good stir.

Pour into oven safe cups or small ramekins. This is meant to be served and eaten in small portions; think demitasse cups, tea cups, small bowls or ramekins. 4-6 ounces each.

Allow any air bubbles or foam to subside. Remove any remaining foam by skimming with a spoon.

Place in a cake pan or casserole dish. Place in an preheated 325F oven. Once in the oven, prepare a bain marie: pour enough hot water in the pan {careful to avoid getting water into the custard} to reach about halfway up the side of your custard cups. The bain marie will help to keep a constant temperature on the custard.

The length of time in the oven depends on the size of your baking vessel. Begin checking at 12 minutes. Tap the cup or bowl and look for gentle ripple (like that of a pebble in a pond). If you have a gentle ripple, then go ahead and remove from oven and allow to cool to warm in the water bath. If the custard isn’t quite done, continue to check every few minutes. If you check on them and they are completely firm, remove from the water bath immediately.

Do not put in the refrigerator hot, but place in the fridge once only slightly warm. Allow to chill completely and serve with a generous dollop of whipped cream

A properly cooked pots de creme is creamy, almost mousse like and silky. Once overcooked it can be a bit grainy and have an eggy flavor to it. Undercooked will result in a runny custard.

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