A slight savoury note and not too much sweetness allows for the natural flavour of the pumpkin to shine.
This is a very easy custard recipe that gives a beautiful pale orange-coloured dessert redolent with spices.
- 250 g golden nugget pumpkin, cut into 3 cm chunks
- 500 ml (2 cups) full cream milk
- 40 g honey
- 1 tsp river salt
- very small pinch of clove powder
- pinch of nutmeg
- ¼ tsp cinnamon powder
- 1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
- 1 cardamom pod, gently crushed
- 3 whole eggs
- 2 egg yolks, extra
- 40 g caster sugar
- 50 g honey
- 20 g butter
- 50 g pumpkin seeds (pepitas), toasted
- 15 g each white and black sesame seeds, toasted
- 40 g whole almonds, toasted, roughly chopped
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Place the pumpkin in a saucepan with the milk and spices over high heat and bring to the boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring occasionally to ensure the milk doesn’t catch, for 10 minutes or until the pumpkin is nice and soft.
Meanwhile, sort out the crunchy topping. Place the honey in a small, shallow pan over high heat and jiggle it around as it starts to bubble and become darker. Once it starts to look quite dark and you can smell it starting to caramelise, which will only take a minute or two, add in the butter, a pinch of salt and keep agitating the pan until it melts. Add the pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and nuts, stirring, as you take the pan off the heat. Make sure the mix is well coated, then pour out onto baking paper to cool.
Preheat oven to 160ºC. Once the pumpkin is cooked, fish out the vanilla and cardamom pods and transfer the contents to a blender. Carefully blend until completely smooth.
Whisk the eggs, extra yolks and sugar together in a bowl until combined. Slowly pour the pumpkin and milk mix over the eggs, whisking to combine. Pour the mixture into a shallow 1.5 litre (6 cup) capackity baking dish and place in a water bath, cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. After this time, check the custard and give it a little jiggle. You want the middle to be just set. If not ready, cook for a further 5 minutes or until just set. Remove from the water bath and allow to cool to room temperature. Top large spoonfuls of the custard with your honey seedy nut mix, to serve.
• Custard can also be baked into individual ramekins, just be aware they may take a little less time to cook. Feel free to experiment with any spices you like; sweet spices work very well here.
Photography, styling and food preparation by China Squirrel.