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Delicious Pumpkin Custard Cups

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!

3 pumpkin custard cups on a wire rack

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.

Ingredients

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.

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.

sugar, eggs, and cinnamon in a glass bowl

Making it

Start by mixing the sugar, egg yolks, vanilla, spices, and salt together in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer. 

milk, cream, and pumpkin puree in a saucepan

Whisk the milk and heavy cream, pumpkin puree, and maple syrup together in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer.

close up of pumpkin custard recipe with whisk and raw custard

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.

pumpkin custard recipe in white ramekins, ready for the oven

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.

pumpkin custard cup from above

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3 pumpkin custard cups on a wire rack

Maple Pumpkin Custard

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

These pumpkin custard cups have been a go-to dessert for us for years. This gluten free pumpkin dessert is loved by everyone who tries it!

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 300º F.
  2. Whisk sugar, egg yolks, vanilla, spices, and salt together in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer. Set aside.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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. 
  7. Transfer the custard cups to a wire rack to cool.
  8. When the custards reach room temperature, cover and refrigerate for at least six hours.

Notes

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

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pumpkin custard with spoon and some scooped out

Originally published November 2015; this post has been updated.

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10 comments… add one
  • Sherri Starkey Nov 25, 2020 @ 13:33

    When this is finished, is the texture more like pumpkin pie without a crust, or more like an egg custard? My eyes and brain cannot agree when I look at the recipe and the photo! Happy Thanksgiving 🙂

    • Kris Bordessa Nov 30, 2020 @ 7:51

      Hm. Somewhere between the two?? It’s creamy, but not as soft as an egg custard.

  • Teresa Stauble Nov 7, 2019 @ 17:33

    Such an easy recipe. We loved it!

    • Kris Bordessa Nov 7, 2019 @ 19:38

      I’m so glad!

  • Michelle Mar 24, 2018 @ 19:21

    Super easy to make and delicious.

  • Brenda Oct 30, 2016 @ 18:27

    Can you bake this in a single dish and not individual ones?

    • Kris Bordessa Nov 1, 2016 @ 11:39

      You can, and I’ve done it, but it needs to cook longer. 10-15 minutes, maybe?

  • Elisabeth Nov 9, 2015 @ 11:45

    This looks incredible. Do you know if you could substitute a bit of coconut milk for the cream? I’m wondering if it would give the same sort of depth that coconut sugar does. I don’t have any coconut sugar.

    • Kris Bordessa Nov 9, 2015 @ 11:47

      Well, I haven’t *tried it, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t. (And trust me – it’s good with regular ole sugar, too!)

  • Sonia (foodiesleuth) Nov 6, 2015 @ 14:56

    Thank you, so much!

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