|Pumpkin Petits Pots|
I realize I posted a pumpkin pie recipe about a month ago. It is a delicious variation on the classic, a recipe I get many requests for and one I do think everyone should try at some point. These adorable little pots of creamy pumpkin are quite tasty too though, and deserve an attempt as well.
Each ramekin, or small oven-proof dish of your choice, is filled with a few spoonfuls of luscious pumpkin filling. The pumpkin, cream and just a bit of sugar are first boiled over medium heat and then whisked into beaten egg yolks, creating a loose, custard-like filling. After cooking and then cooling and setting in the fridge, they turn a beautiful caramel color, with dark little bits of ground allspice dotted about.
These little desserts come together quickly (minus a few hours needed to for the petits pots to completely set), which is handy if you are expecting guests. They can easily be prepared ahead of time and then chill while dinner is served and enjoyed. I do think they would make a lighter alternative to an actual pumpkin pie, especially following a large or heavy Thanksgiving meal, or when too many tempting dessert options abound (making enough for a crowd and transporting them may be an issue, though). These personal size pots could even be an option for a post-dessert treat, or "Round Two," as we like to call it in my family, when leftovers begin to find their way out the foil and Saran wrap, or are casually picked at on the counter, a few hours after dinner.
The dainty little pots are probably about the size of a serving of pie (well, depending on who you have slicing and serving), if you have any concerns about that. If they appear smaller than your average slice, fear not: what they lack in size, they make up for in flavor.
Pumpkin Petits Pots
(adapted from Mireille Guiliano)
*1 cup whole milk (although I only use whole milk, 2% may be substituted)
*1/2 cup heavy cream
*1/2 cup pumpkin puree
*1/3 cup sugar*
*1/4 tsp. allspice**
*1 tsp. vanilla extract*
*3 large egg yolks
*toasted and chopped hazelnuts, optional
Preheat the oven to 325º.
Mix the milk, heavy cream, pumpkin puree, sugar and allspice in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove the heat and add the vanilla.
Beat the egg yolks until thick. Add one-fourth of the milk mixture to the eggs, still whisking. Whisk the egg mixture into the remaining hot milk. Pour the mixture into 4 ramekins or molds of your choice (depending on the size of the molds you use, you may or may not have mixture left over) and place them into a baking dish. Fill baking dish with hot water, enough to go halfway up the sides of the small molds, creating a water bath.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until set (small cracks may appear on top of the pumpkin filling). Remove the molds from the oven to cool, and then refrigerate for 2-3 hours or longer, until completely set. Sprinkle with toasted hazelnuts, if using, just before serving.
*I use both my homemade vanilla sugar and vanilla extract, with very good results.
**If you are not a baker, or do not plan to bake much this season, think about making your own allspice if you have cinnamon, ground cloves and nutmeg on hand. Just mix equal parts, or about 1/2 tsp. of each. Feel free to cut back on the amount of cloves if you think that will overpower your dish.
I frequently use Badia spices, although McCormick may carry more of a selection when it comes to spices most often used for baking. On a side note, the Grace brand is my go-to for spicy Latin, Indian or Caribbean dishes; you cannot deny the heat or bite of their Grace Traditions HOT Curry Powder!