I’ve already expressed to you my love of all things pumpkin around the holidays. Pumpkin just takes me to a warm fuzzy place. It’s the quintessential taste of fall, in my opinion. It seems only fitting that pumpkin pie would be the quintessential dessert on Thanksgiving. It’s always been there and always will be. There’s nothing wrong with that! But, I decided to change things up a bit when I cooked up Thanksgiving Dinner #1 over the weekend. We were not disappointed!
Pumpkin Pie is a pretty simple dessert to make, when it comes right down to it. This is no more difficult than a regular pumpkin pie. In fact, it may be a little bit easier because you don’t have to deal with a crust. The original recipe serves four guests, but it could easily be doubled or tripled. The spicy pecans are so tasty that I doubled the recipe right off the bat, even though I was only serving four people. They are a wonderful addition to this dessert, but would be delicious added to salads, topping some ice cream or even chopped up and added to cookies.
You’ll start by mixing up a quick custard.
Beat up some eggs, add some canned pumpkin, brown sugar, cream, pumpkin pie spice and salt and you’re done. Sounds an awful lot like pumpkin pie filling, doesn’t it?
Once that’s mixed up, it needs to be divided up into ramekins or custard cups. The original recipe didn’t mention greasing the cups, but just to be safe, I sprayed a paper towel with some nonstick spray and lightly greased the inside of each ramekin before adding the custard. You could easily serve these in the ramekins, but I wanted to flip them out on a plate and I needed all the help I could get!
Before popping them into the oven, pour some boiling water into the dish around the ramekins to the depth of about one inch. This water-bath will help the custards to cook evenly and it will help keep a crust from forming.
After 45-55 minutes in the oven, the custards can come out. Let them cool and then you can chill them for 1-8 hours.
Next, it’s on to the pecans. Have I mentioned how good these are? They are SO good and so easy. I have a feeling I’ll whip up a few batches of these in the upcoming months.
Start by tossing some pecan halves with a bit of sugar, light corn syrup and a smidge of cayenne pepper. You’ll lay these out on a greased, foil lined cookie sheet.
I sprinkled them with a bit of kosher salt, too, before popping them into the oven.
After 15 minutes, and a couple of stirs, you’ll have beautiful, toasted, glazed pecans. Just transfer them to another greased piece of foil to cool. Once cool, you can break them up. It doesn’t take long.
I made these in the morning and after they cooled, I had two bowls on my kitchen counter. One bowl was filled with the pecans. The other was filled with the spicy, brittle-sugar candy they left behind on the cookie sheet. Both were munched on throughout the day. (It wasn’t just me. I swear!) It’s a good thing I’d doubled the pecan recipe, because I don’t know if I would have had enough to top the desserts by dinner time if I hadn’t. They are that good!
When you’re ready to serve the custards, run a knife around the edges of each ramekin and flip them out onto dessert plates. They should release easily, but if they don’t, there’s nothing wrong with serving them in the dish. Just drizzle the custards with some maple syrup and sprinkle those crazy good pecans on top.
Yum-O. This dessert is a wonderful twist on traditional pumpkin pie. It’s so good, you and your guests won’t even miss the crust.
PUMPKIN CUSTARDS WITH PEPPERY PECANS
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup canned pumpkin
- ¾ cup whipping cream, half and half, or light cream
- ¼ cup packed brown sugar
- ½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
- ¼ tsp. salt
- Peppery Pecans
- maple syrup
- nonstick cooking spray
- 1 cup pecan halves
- 3 Tbsp. granulated sugar
- 2 Tbsp. light-colored corn syrup
- ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
- kosher salt
- Preheat your oven to 350*. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the eggs, pumpkin, cream, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Beat with a wire whisk until smooth.
- Place four 6 oz. ramekins or custard cups in a 2-quart baking dish. Spray a paper towel with some nonstick spray and lightly grease inside of each ramekin. Divide the pumpkin mixture up among the ramekins. Pour boiling water into the dish, around the ramekins, to the depth of one inch before placing the dish in the oven.
- Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a knife inserted into the middle of the custards comes out clean. Remove the cups from the water-bath and place on a wire rack to cool. At this point, you can cover and chill the ramekins for 1-8 hours.
- To serve, run a knife around the edge of each custard and turn them out onto four dessert plates. Sprinkle with the peppery pecans and drizzle with maple syrup.
- Preheat oven to 325*. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray, lightly, with nonstick spray. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the pecans, sugar, corn syrup and cayenne pepper. Spread the nuts out onto the prepared cookie sheet. Sprinkle with kosher salt.
- Bake for 15 minutes, stirring twice.
- Transfer the pecans to another sheet of greased foil to cool. Once cool, break apart. Store in an airtight container.