Caramelized Pumpkin Pudding For Instant Happiness

12234Photo: Courtesy of Apt2B Baking.
I generally use roasted butternut squash for any holiday baking that calls for pumpkin purée. Personally, I think sugar pumpkins are pretty flavorless and not really worth the effort, but that was before I met the Winter Luxury (a pretty sexy name for a squash if you ask me). It was so naturally sweet and tasty that I ate the leftover purée plain as I stood over the stove whisking this very pudding. The pudding below is a perfect foil for the winter luxury's smooth texture and flavor, but if you aren't up to roasting your own pumpkin, canned will do just fine — but don't skip the caramelization step.
Caramelized Pumpkin Pudding
Yield 6-8 individual parfaits
For the Pudding
1 1/2 cups roasted pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
3 large egg yolks
3 tbsp cornstarch
pinch salt
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice
2 tbsp unsalted butter
For the Brown Sugar Cream
1 cup heavy cream
3 tbsp light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract, bourbon or rum
For the Pudding
1. Spoon the pumpkin puree into a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly for about 10 minutes or until the purée looks slightly dry and caramelized. Keep warm while you prepare the pudding.
2. In a bowl or measuring cup, whisk the milk, cream, and egg yolks. In a medium saucepan whisk together the sugar, salt, and cornstarch then whisk in the milk mixture, followed by the vanilla bean seeds and pod.
3. Cook the mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly until it has thickened and is bubbling gently, 8-12 minutes.
4. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the warm pumpkin puree, spices and butter. Remove the vanilla bean pod and save it for another use. Pour the pudding into a dish and cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until completely cool.
For the Brown Sugar Cream
Combine the cream, brown sugar, and extract or booze in a large mixing bowl and whip until medium peaks form.
Seeded Brittle
I used this recipe and added in 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds with the pepitas.
To Assemble
Whisk the chilled pudding until smooth, then layer it with the whipped cream in pretty glasses. Top with a few shards of brittle right before the puddings are served.

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