Skip the crust and try this recipe for Pumpkin Custard, which has 70% fewer calories and 97% less saturated fat than the traditional pumpkin pie and includes heart-healthy walnuts.
- 6 sugar pumpkins, small (12-16 ounces each, about 4-inches in diameter), to be used as decorative bowls
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger, ground
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves, ground
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups pumpkin puree
- 1 cup evaporated milk, nonfat or low-fat
- 6 tablespoons California walnuts, chopped, toasted
Note: These crustless, individual custards can be baked either in small, hollowed-out pumpkins or in ramekins. Instructions for both methods are given.
- To prepare the pumpkins, if you are using them, remove the stem end from each, and scrape the seeds and fibers from inside the pumpkins. Cut a very thin slice off the bottom of each pumpkin, so they will sit flat, without wobbling. Alternately, coat 6 ramekins, each about six-ounce capacity, with nonstick cooking spray.
- Preheat the oven to 450º F.
- In a large bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt, and stir with a whisk or spoon until evenly blended. Add the eggs and pumpkin puree and beat until completely mixed. Slowly pour in the evaporated milk, stirring until smooth.
- If you are using pumpkins, divide the filling among them, pouring about 1/2 cup into each. Place the pumpkins on a parchment-lined shallow baking pan, with their tops next to them. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350º F and continue baking about 1 hour more, or until the pumpkins are tender when pierced. If the tops are done sooner, remove them. If you are using ramekins, pour about 1/2 cup of filling into each. Place the ramekins on a shallow baking pan. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325º F and bake about 25 minutes more, or until a knife inserted in the filling comes out clean, or almost clean.
- Remove from the oven and transfer to a rack to cool (cool for an hour if baked in pumpkins). Serve the custards warm, sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon of walnuts. Accompany with sweetened whipped cream, if desired. The pumpkin lids may be placed atop the pumpkins, or at a jaunty angle along side.