Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Pumpkin-Praline Custards

I couldn't let October end without making one more pumpkin recipe. Ok, I admit this time I'm cheating and using organic pureed pumpkin from a can, but if you want to have fun with fresh pumpkin, see my posts for Sugar-Roasted Pumpkin or Pumpkin, Pear, and Cranberry Gratin.  You'll have some of the canned pumpkin leftover after making these custards, so why not skip Starbucks and make a vegan pumpkin spice latte at home?

For the custards:
  • 1 and 1/2 cups vanilla soy milk
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2/3 cup vegan sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 vegan eggs*
  • Cooking spray
For the praline:
  • 1/4 cup vegan sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
1. To prepare the custards, combine the soy milk, pumpkin, 2/3 cup sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, salt, and eggs in a bowl, whisking well until combined.

2. Divide the pumpkin mixture evenly among 6 (6-ounce) custard cups coated with cooking spray.  Place the cups in a 13x9-inch metal baking pan, and add hot water to the pan to a depth of 1 inch.

3. Bake at 325 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes - a knife inserted in the center of the custards should come out almost clean.

4. Remove the custard cups from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack.  Cover and chill for at least 3 hours.

5. Meanwhile, prepare the praline: combine the remaining 1/4 cup sugar with the water in a small skillet.  Cook over medium-high heat heat for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden.

6. Remove from heat and stir in the pecans.  Immediately scrape the mixture onto a baking sheet coated with cooking spray, spreading evenly, and let cool completely before breaking into small pieces.

7. Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon praline over each custard to serve.

*Normally I would recommend Ener-G egg replacer for the eggs, but I found myself without some at home for the first time, and decided to try my hand at flax eggs (ground flaxseed blended with water). Although the results were fine, I think these custards would have set even better with Ener-G, so don't let yourself get caught in a pinch without it!

Nutrition Info:
6 servings (1 custard, about 1 tablespoon praline), Calories 220

Tasting Notes:
This was definitely a nice and different way to enjoy pumpkin in a dessert, but I was a little disappointed in the end result. The flavor was surprisingly bland, so I'd add more spice (and perhaps cloves in addition to the nutmeg and cinnamon), and I'd probably use tofu in place of the egg replacer to achieve a thicker and creamier final product. As is, this wasn't nearly as good as pumpkin pies I've baked, so I'll stick with pie next time. See my note on Ener-G eggs versus flaxseed eggs above, however, as that might have been part of the problem.


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