This pumpkin custard recipe has 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!
Be sure to try these easy pumpkin bars, too!
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 years ago in a FamilyFun magazine (it’s no longer on their website). [Disclaimer: I wrote for FamilyFun for years.]
Gluten free pumpkin custard
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 — I like to use homemade pumpkin puree, but if you don’t have it, canned pumpkin is just fine. Just be sure to get plain pumpkin, not pumpkin pie mix.
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Sugar — 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.
Maple syrup — This is the sweetener that gives these custard cups its signature maple flavor.
Dairy — 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.
Eggs — This can — of course — be made with standard chicken eggs, but for an extra richness, try using duck eggs!
Spices — Vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg give this dessert the classic “pumpkin spice” flavor that we so love.
Start by mixing the sugar, egg yolks, vanilla, spices, and salt together in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer.
Whisk the milk and heavy cream, pumpkin puree, and maple syrup together in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer.
Ladle the heated cream and pumpkin into the 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.
Divide the custard evenly among six custard cups and arrange the filled cups, evenly spaced, in a baking dish that has 3/4 inch of water in the bottom.
Bake and allow to cool.
Adjusting this pumpkin custard 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. Any deeper and you’ll have trouble getting the center cooked before the outside is overdone.
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- 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!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1 individual dish
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 452Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 286mgSodium: 108mgCarbohydrates: 43gFiber: 4gSugar: 35gProtein: 10g
Originally published November 2015; this post has been updated.