Sugar Pumpkin Custard with Salted caramel and Pumpkin Seed Bark

Serving this delicious creamy pumpkin custard inside small sugar pumpkins creates a festive—and tasty—display for the table, showcasing our local, seasonal bounty. I serve the pumpkins topped with small, individual rounds of puff pastry but I’ve omitted that here for simplicity’s sake.

By | September 05, 2018

Ingredients

Sugar Pumpkins:
  • 8 small (softball size) sugar pumpkins, washed and dried
  • ½ cup maple sugar (or granulated sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon ground mace
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1½ cups heavy cream
*Salted Caramel Sauce:
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup heavy cream, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons flake sea salt
*Pumpkin Seed Bark:
  • Reserved pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon neutral cooking oil
  • Spices for toasting
  • 4 ounces white chocolate, melted

Preparation

Sugar Pumpkins:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut tops off the pumpkins and set tops aside. Scoop out pumpkin membrane and seeds. Rinse and reserve seeds. In a small bowl, mix together maple sugar and mace. Rub pumpkins inside and out with butter, then sprinkle the insides with maple sugar mixture to coat.

Place pumpkins and pumpkin tops on a lined baking sheet and roast until just soft, approximately 25 minutes. Remove 6 pumpkins with tops and set aside. (These pumpkins will be filled with custard and baked again.) Continue roasting the remaining 2 pumpkins until very soft, approximately 30 more minutes. (Now is a good time to toast the pumpkin seeds for the chocolate bark, if preparing.) Remove pumpkins from oven, scrape out the flesh and discard skins. Purée pumpkin in a food processor until smooth.

Mix together brown and white sugars, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. In a separate bowl, beat eggs until frothy. Add sugar mixture and stir. Add puréed pumpkin and cream and mix until smooth. Pour custard mixture into the 6 reserved pumpkins, so they are just over ¾ full. Place on a lined baking sheet and bake until a toothpick comes out clean, approximately 40 to 50 minutes.

To assemble, swipe each plate with caramel sauce and place a pumpkin on top. Serve with pieces of broken pumpkin seed bark.

*Salted Caramel Sauce:

Place a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add water and sugar in the pan and, without stirring, cook until the sugar turns amber in color. Carefully add the cream in a slow stream and stir until smooth. Remove from heat and whisk in butter and sea salt to taste. (Can be made in advance and refrigerated—just warm up before serving.)

*Pumpkin Seed Bark:

Toss the reserved pumpkin seeds with cooking oil and a light dusting of your favorite spice rub (or try cinnamon with a pinch of salt and cayenne) and roast in the oven at 350°F until lightly browned. Fold the toasted seeds with the melted white chocolate and spread thinly on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Chill until set and then break into pieces.

About this recipe

Newport Vineyards Wine Pairing: Vidal Ice Wine is this sweet and salty dessert’s match made in heaven. This dessert wine’s honey and toasted almond notes are the perfect pairing for the spiced pumpkin, caramel and roasted flavors.

Ingredients

Sugar Pumpkins:
  • 8 small (softball size) sugar pumpkins, washed and dried
  • ½ cup maple sugar (or granulated sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon ground mace
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1½ cups heavy cream
*Salted Caramel Sauce:
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup heavy cream, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons flake sea salt
*Pumpkin Seed Bark:
  • Reserved pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon neutral cooking oil
  • Spices for toasting
  • 4 ounces white chocolate, melted