Is it almost Thanksgiving already?

Did you just realize today that Thanksgiving is only TWO DAYS AWAY??  (Or was, when I was typing this post last night).  Did you get a sinking feeling that you had promised your parents you’d contribute an amazing festive dessert?  No?  Just me?  Shoot…

This year, we’re celebrating Thanksgiving day at my little studio apartment – my parents are coming into the city, the boyfriend is coming over, and we’re going to spend the day eating and eating and eating some more.  My newly wed brother and his lovely wife will unfortunately be spending the weekend with her side of the family, but we’ll send happy, full thoughts their way!  We’re actually not going to go with the traditional turkey (seriously, do I look like I own a roasting pan?  Do I even really know what that looks like?), and instead are going with the smaller,  fattier cousin – duck!  I’m not actually sure what else we’re eating with it, but I DO know that I’m charge of a veggie dish and a dessert.  Oops.

Anyway, thank goodness my amazing college roommate made this delicious pumpkin custard for me once, and I swear it tasted like light, heavenly bliss, with all the best flavors of Fall (and it came in an adorable little ramekin.  Bonus points!).  Plus, when I went to look for it frantically this afternoon, I remembered she had sent me the link to the recipe!  It’s so so simple, literally throw everything together and bake.  Though I thought it looked a little lonely on its own (read: too healthy), so I whipped up a quick pumpkin frosting, which I’m thinking about using for either pumpkin cupcakes or pumpkin macaroons (yeah we’ll see about that one…unclear) on Thursday.

I only made 1/3 of the recipe as a test run, but I posted the full recipe 🙂

Gathering my favorite fall baking friends. Honestly, how anything with these ingredients NOT be delicious?

Pumpkin Custard, from the Moosewood Low Fat Favorites Cookbook (Recipe is here)

Special equipment:

6-8 ramekins (6 normal sized ones, 8 or more of the smaller ones)

A deep-ish pan that will fit all the ramekins (you’ll be making a water bath – exciting!  Way easier than it sounds)

Ingredients:

  • 1 15-oz can pumpkin puree (let’s be honest, if you’re this last minute, roasting the pumpkin yourself is not on the table)
  •  1 1/2 cup evaporated skim milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 egg whites
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup, or brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon or so of butter, or cooking spray
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon*
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger*
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg*
  • 1/2 teaspoon mace*

*Wanna be lazy?  Sure you do. Use 2 1/2 teaspoons of pumpkin spice instead of all these separate spices.  Easy peasy.

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Grease the bottom / insides of the ramekins with butter (or spray with cooking spray, but I think butter works better here.  But then again, doesn’t it always?) and set them inside the pan.

Butter up the ramekins! Just squish it on there with your hands.

Put all the ingredients (except the butter, that was just for greasing!) in a bowl and blend until silky smooth. Divide the mixture evenly into the ramekins.  Don’t worry, these don’t rise so it’s okay if they’re kinda full.

I'm not trying to be artistic, I prmoise. I'm really just trying to hide the mess that is my kitchen / apartment / life.

Boil some water in a pot / kettle.  Once it’s boiling, go ahead and put the tray with the ramekins into the oven, and pour the water into the pan (outside the ramekins!) to create a water bath.  Much easier to do this in the oven so you avoid sloshing boiling water around as you attempt to transfer the pan to the oven. Am I speaking from experience? Uhh… maybe…

If my camera were legit, you'd see the steam rising from the water (and potentially smell the pumpkin-y goodness).

Let it bake for 40-45 minutes.  Check it periodically after the 35 minute mark, since ovens temperatures really vary.  It’s done when you insert a knife into the custard, and it comes out clean.  Take the pan out of the oven, and carefully take the ramekins out of the water bath and to let them cool on a towel or cooling rack.

Yay you’re done!  Super easy, no?

This custard needs a friend. Although, see how it lefts off the side easily? That's the butter! ♥

But wait… it’s too healthy you say?  It looks a little naked?  No problem, whip up an easy batch of pumpkin frosting, sprinkle some powdered sugar and crushed graham crackers on top, and you’re good to go 🙂  Or you can just top it with whipped cream, but I didn’t have any on hand.

Pumpkin Frosting (makes a lot.  Like ~1+ cups of frosting)

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz cream cheese
  • 1/8 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons butter (at room temp.  or zap in the microwave on defrost for 15-20 seconds)
  • 1/8 teaspoon pumpkin spice
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

The basis of anything wonderful - cream cheese and butter (and pumpkin!)

In a small mixing bowl, combine the first three ingredients, plus the pumpkin spice if you want that extra kick of pumpkin flavor.  I added it b/c the potential macaroons will only get the pumpkin flavor from the filling.  Stir until completely blended (or use a hand mixer – I was too lazy to find the two parts so did it by hand.  Kinda satisfying, actually).

Slowly add in the powdered sugar, until it reaches the consistency you’re looking for.   The more powdered sugar you use, the stiffer your frosting.

I probably should've sifted the powdered sugar to avoid lumps...But you know what, life is all about accepting the bumps along the way (har har). Btw, yes, that is a Rice to Riches spoon. I think it felt at home in this frosting.

Then you can put it all together – either leave the custards in the ramekins, or put them on a plate.  Top with a dollop of frosting (or whipped cream), sprinkle with some crumbled graham crackers if you have some on hand, and dust with powdered sugar.  Maybe drizzle on a little caramel.  Go wild!

This was from the half-filled, regular sized ramekin so I took it out of the ramekin. I added the topping too soon and it melted. Still yummy!

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