This twist on Thanksgiving pumpkin desserts is based on a traditional French Creme Caramel. This recipe is originally from my mother, but I've fiddled with the spices, added rum and so on. I like to bake it in a loaf pan/terrine and serve it in slices, but a classic round creme caramel/flan dish works too. It's very rich, so the whipped cream is optional - served naked, with just its own caramel sauce, is sort of elegant too. —amysarah
- Serves around 8 +
1 1/3 cups
Pumpkin puree (I use canned here; fresh is fine, as long as it's very smooth)
Dark rum (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350.
- In small heavy pan, combine 2/3-cup sugar with ¼ cup water and bring to boil, washing down any sugar crystals clinging to the sides with a pastry brush dipped in cold water. Stir until the sugar completely dissolves, then continue to cook until it's a deep caramel color.
- Pour the caramel into a glass loaf pan, tilting until bottom is evenly coated. Set aside to harden.
- Beat eggs with remaining 2/3-cup sugar. Beat in pumpkin puree, salt, spices and cream. Stir in the vanilla and rum (if using.) Pour into the pan, on top of the hardened caramel.
- Put the pan in a deep baking dish and add enough very hot water to reach half way up sides of the flan. Bake on the oven’s middle rack for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a small sharp knife inserted in the center comes out clean, but it’s still a tiny bit wobbly.
- Remove flan from water bath and cool on a rack to room temp. Cover well and put in fridge for at least 6 hours, or overnight.
- To serve: carefully run a thin knife around edge of pan to separate flan from sides. Invert a serving platter over it (not too shallow – you want to capture all of that caramel sauce.) Carefully flip both together; the flan should slip out easily. If not, give the pan a couple of good whacks with a wooden spoon (cursing and snarling, ‘don’t even think about it!’ helps.) Let the sauce pool over and around it, making sure not a single drop is left behind in the pan.
- Serve cut in slices, with some sauce spooned over it. If you like, garnish with a dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream (plain or with a little vanilla, cinnamon or rum.)