A holiday to celebrate the fruits [and sweets] of the season, especially the best of all the squashes: the great pumpkin

DSC02320His is sad… see the tears? Originally he wanted to carve a ‘quizzical’ pumpkin, then abandoned the idea after he couldn’t figure out how to accomplish it. Ha. Mine is only the coolest bone daddy of cinema fame. The Pumpkin King — Jack Skellington

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Let’s face it, there are two reasons to carve pumpkins. An ethereal glowing face and roasted seeds. We salted ours and coated half with cayenne pepper.

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And to satisfy our pumpkin sweet tooth, pumpkin pie spiced French toast for breakfast and homemade punkin custard tonight! Following our mustard-crusted hickory smoked pork ribs and potato salad supper, which has absolutely nothing to do with pumpkin. It would’ve been overkill otherwise.

DSC02329Guaranteed to set you grinning like a jack-o-lantern!

Punkin Custard [makes about 1 qt]

Printable recipe

1 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin puree [or fresh pumpkin puree if you’re able]

1 t vanilla extract

2 c heavy cream

3/4 c firmly packed dark brown sugar

5 egg yolks

1/2 t ground cinnamon

1/2 t ground ginger

1/4 t salt

a pinch freshly grated nutmeg

1 T bourbon [optional]

chopped toasted pecans, for serving

In a bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to 8 hours.

In a heavy 2-qt saucepan over medium heat, combine 1 1/2 c heavy cream and 1/2 c brown sugar. Cook until bubbles form around the edges of the pan, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the egg yolks, cinnamon, ginger, salt, nutmeg, the remaining 1/2 c cream and the remaining 1/4 c brown sugar. Whisk until smooth and the sugar begins to dissolve.

Remove the cream mixture from the heat. Gradually whisk about 1/2 c hot cream mixture into the egg mixture until smooth. Pour the egg mixture back into the pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon and keeping the custard at a low simmer, until it is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon and leaves a clear trail when a finger is drawn through it, 4 to 6 minutes. Do not allow the custard to boil. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a small/medium bowl [should be able to fit into another bowl in the step below].

Place the small/medium bowl in a larger bowl partially filled with ice water, stirring occasionally until cool. Whisk the pumpkin mixture into the custard. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly on the surface of the custard to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until well chilled, at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours [we usually chill ours overnight].

Transfer the custard to an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer instructions. If desired, add the bourbon during the last minute of churning. Transfer the ice cream to a freezer-safe container. Cover and freeze until firm, at least 3 hours or up to 3 days, before eating.

Scoop into dishes and serve with chopped toasted pecans.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma

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