Spiced Pumpkin Flan with Piñones
This is a perfect holiday dessert because it actually tastes better made a day ahead, freeing up the oven and your time on Thanksgiving
morning for other dishes. Piñones is the local name for pine nuts.
- 2 cups puréed pumpkin
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 5 large eggs
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 3 Tbs. dark rum, or 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp. ground ginger
- ⅛ tsp. ground nutmeg
- 3 to 4 Tbs. pine nuts, lightly toasted (see Chunky Fresh Cranberry Relish recipe)
- Preheat oven to 300F. Place eight 8-ounce custard cups or ramekins in roomy baking pan, without crowding.
- To prepare caramel: Place sugar in small heavy saucepan or skillet. Heat over low, watching carefully as sugar melts into golden-brown syrup. Do not stir unless sugar is melting unevenly. When sugar turns medium brown, immediately remove pan from heat, and carefully pour about 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon melted sugar into bottom of each cup. Sugar syrup firms up almost immediately, so work fast.
- To make custard: Combine all custard ingredients in large saucepan and heat over medium-low. Whisk about 1 minute, until mixture is well blended and starts to froth around rim. Remove from heat when mixture is warm throughout. Do not boil.
- Divide mixture evenly among cups nearly to rims. Pour warm water into pan around cups, enough to cover bottom one-third of cups; refill if needed. Bake for 1 hour and 45 minutes, until custard is firm and slightly raised. Remove cups from oven and water bath. Cool at room temperature for about 20 minutes. Cover cups and refrigerate overnight, or a minimum of 3 hours.
- Just before serving, uncover cups and run small knife around outside edge of each cup. Cover cup with serving plate, invert and give brief shake. Custard should drop to plate. Repeat with remaining cups. Garnish with pine nuts and serve.
If there are no other competing desserts offered, you could match this flan with a tawny port such as Graham’s Ten Years Old Tawny. Or try a Sauternes such as Peter Lehmann Nobel Semillon Sauternes.