I generally use roasted butternut squash for any holiday baking that calls for pumpkin purée. Personally, I think sugar pumpkins are pretty flavorless and not really worth the effort, but that was before I met the winter luxury (a pretty sexy name for a squash if you ask me). They are an heirloom variety that I had never seen before a trip up to Maine to assist a shoot that was covering the Common Ground County Fair last month. There was a beautiful farmer's market at the entrance to the fair with quite a few varieties of heirloom squash that I hadn't seen before and I couldn't resist bringing a few back to New York with me (big surprise). My hands down favorite was the winter luxury, a curious little pumpkin covered with netting like a melon that I admired my on my mantle for about a week before I gave in and decided to make something with it. When I cut it open the flesh was beautifully orange and when roasted it was smooth with hints of caramel and toffee. It was so naturally sweet and tasty that I ate the leftover puree plain as I stood over the stove whisking this very pudding. The pudding below is a perfect foil for the winter luxury's smooth texture and flavor, but if you aren't up to roasting your own pumpkin, canned will do just fine just don't skip the caramelization step.
p.s. Does anyone in have a winter luxury supplier in New York? I haven't been able to find them at my local farmer's market and I would love to find a few more before Thanksgiving.
Caramelized Pumpkin Puddings with Brown Sugar Cream and Seeded Brittle
yield 6-8 individual parfaits
If you'd like to roast your own pumpkin for this recipe here is a great tutorial from Aimee at Simple Bites. The caramelization technique below comes from Meta Given by way of Food52 and it is a winner.
Caramelized Pumpkin Pudding
1 1/2 cups roasted pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
3 large egg yolks
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon allspice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1. Spoon the pumpkin puree into a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly for about 10 minutes or until the puree looks slightly dry and caramelized. Keep warm while you prepare the pudding.
2. In a bowl or measuring cup, whisk the milk, cream and egg yolks. In medium saucepan whisk together the sugar, salt and cornstarch then whisk in the milk mixture, followed by the vanilla bean seeds and pod.
3. Cook the mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly until it has thickened and is bubbling gently, 8-12 minutes.
4. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the warm pumpkin puree, spices and butter. Remove the vanilla bean pod and save it for another use. Pour the pudding into a dish and cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until completely cool.
Brown Sugar Cream
1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, bourbon or rum
Combine the cream, brown sugar, and extract or booze in a large mixing bowl and whip until medium peaks form.
I used this recipe and added in 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds with the pepitas.
Whisk the chilled pudding until smooth, then layer it with the whipped cream in pretty glasses. Top with a few shards of brittle right before the puddings are served.