This is a nice seasonal variation on the classic crème caramel for the fall. Low-fat substitutions are indicated.

This recipe was provided to The Gumbo Pages by my friend Warren Kolodny, (1964-1996).

Heat oven to 350F.

To make the caramel, place 3/4 cup of the sugar and the water in a medium heavy saucepan over medium heat. Stir just to dissolve the sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil, without stirring, until caramelized, about 7-10 minutes. Immediately and CAREFULLY pour the caramel into a 1-1/2 quart souffle dish or ramekin, or divide into six 6-ounce individual ramekins. Using a potholder, swirl dish(es) to coat bottom and sides well with caramel. Set dish(es) aside.

To make the custard, place the pumpkin and the remaining sugar in a mixing bowl. Whisk well to mix. Whisk in the half-and-half or evaporated milk, and then the eggs. Whisk in the vanilla, cinnamon, allspice and salt until incorporated. Pour the mixture into the dish(es). Cover tightly with foil. Place dish(es) in a large baking pan and prepare a bain-marie, pouring in enough hot water to reach halfway up the side of the dish(es).

Bake the custard until firm, about 90 minutes. Cool the custard, uncovered, to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until well-chilled. Custard may be prepared up to 1 day ahead.

When ready to serve, run a knife around the side of the dish(es) and invert the custard onto a serving dish. Drizzle any remaining caramel over the top. If caramel seems to be sticking to the bottom of the dish, place it in a skillet of simmering water to melt the hardened caramel. If prepared in one large dish, cut the custard into 8 wedges. Serve each serving with a dollop of whipped cream, if desired.

Yield: 8 servings.


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Chuck Taggart   (e-mail chuck)