These pumpkin custard cups have been a go-to dessert for us for years. It’s a great gluten free pumpkin dessert that is loved by everyone who tries it!
We have a long-standing tradition in our household that each one of us “brings” a dish to our holiday table. Yes, even the people who live here. They are asked to plan and prepare a dish of their choice.
My eldest makes his famous ginger spiced cranberry sauce every year. My youngest found his go-to recipe a half-dozen years ago in a FamilyFun magazine (it’s no longer on their website). [Disclaimer: I wrote for FamilyFun for years.]
A gluten free pumpkin dessert
These pumpkin custard cups are a great gluten free pumpkin dessert and oh, so good. Trust me — serving this to your guests will not prove to be a hardship for any of them! Some of us even prefer this over homemade pumpkin pie.
Pumpkin custard ingredients
We discovered several years ago that this pumpkin custard is especially good with homemade pumpkin puree instead of canned, and using coconut sugar gives it a nice depth. This pumpkin custard recipe calls for both milk and heavy cream. If you’re dairy free, I’d substitute your favorite nut milk (for milk) and coconut milk (for heavy cream). We’ve made them this way with success, much to the delight of my dairy-free guy.
I opt for coconut sugar or organic granulated sugar in order to avoid genetically modified beet sugar. That’s my personal little quirk, though — the original recipe simply calls for sugar.
This can — of course — be made with standard chicken eggs, but for an extra richness, try using duck eggs!
Adjusting this pumpkin dessert recipe
I’ve been asked if this recipe can be made in a single dish. The answer is yes, I’ve done it, but you’ll need to adjust the time and really keep an eye on it. Fill a baking dish with the custard mixture so that it’s no more than two inches deep. Deeper and you’ll have trouble getting the center cooked before the outside is overdone.
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Maple Pumpkin Custard
Preheat oven to 300º F.
Whisk sugar, egg yolks, vanilla, spices, and salt together in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer. Set aside.
In a medium-size saucepan, whisk together the milk and heavy cream, pumpkin puree, and maple syrup. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until the mixture is hot but not boiling, about 7 minutes.
Ladle into sugar and yolk mixture, stirring constantly. (If you pour it all in at once the yolks will cook; you don't want that to happen.) Once egg mixture and hot mixture are roughly the same temperature you can add it a bit more quickly.
Pour 3/4 inch of hot water into a large, shallow casserole dish. Divide the custard evenly among six custard cups and arrange the filled cups, evenly spaced, in the baking dish.
Bake the custards, uncovered, on the center oven rack for about 45 to 50 minutes. The centers may jiggle a bit, but shouldn't be too fluid.
Transfer the custard cups to a wire rack to cool.
When the custards reach room temperature, cover and refrigerate for at least six hours.
Serve with freshly made whipped cream - or not!