Dessert for Breakfast: Baked Pumpkin Custard

Friends, I’m about to take you a mythical land. A land where sugar plum fairies dance on clouds of cotton candy, where snowmen skate on pools of frozen chocolate, and…where you can eat dessert for breakfast.

Yes, I am well aware that the most unbelievable part of that sentence is dessert. for. breakfast!

Given my enormous and well-documented sweet tooth, this is a dream I have had for many moons, right up there with eating healthy cookies. I love dessert. I love breakfast. So having a dessert that I could actually eat at breakfast was almost too much for my mind to boggle. (Is boggle a verb? If not, it should be.)

Oh sure, I sneak the occasional piece of chocolate cake for breakfast or a cookie or two (or five) mid-morning. But I wanted a dessert that was healthy enough to be eaten for breakfast, while still being delicious enough to be called dessert. Not dessert-like. Not close to dessert. But good enough to be eaten for actual dessert.

Well friends, cue the angel music and rays of sun breaking through the clouds. You can even throw in a heavenly ‘Hallelujah.’ Because I have found it.

It is Baked Pumpkin Custard. (And yes, I am well aware that the climax I was so carefully building up to was ruined by the title of this post.) It contains milk. It contains eggs. It even contains – gasp! vegetables, all of which make it a good breakfast in my books. The fact that it contains no grains is a bonus, because we can all afford to take a break from the grains every now and then. But – and this is the important part – it is also delicious. Silky, rich and full bodied, with a warm, spicy flavour that lingers. Topped with airy whipped ricotta and studded with tart pomegranate seeds, it is the perfect balance of earthy, spicy, airy and tart. And all this before 9 am! The only downside is that your lunch will never live up to it.

The bonus (there is a bonus!?!) is that it is easy to whip up in a blender (seriously – I make it during commercial breaks), requires a few common ingredients, and can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator to be popped out in the morning on your way to work (or, of course, after dinner.) It is even baby-friendly – I often feed it to M when he won’t eat anything else, as I know that he is at least getting eggs, milk and veggies. If you put it into a plastic container, little ones can even feed themselves. See? I told you it was perfect.

Baked Pumpkin Custard

Slightly Adapted from the always amazing Mairlyn Smith for Alive magazine.

Notes:

Mairlyn adds 1/4 cup pure maple syrup; I have ommitted it here as I don’t like my desserts too sweet and I wanted to reduce the sugar for breakfast. If you are having it for dessert, feel free to add it in.

Also, I used pumpkin spice to make this recipe even easier; you can get the pre-mixed spice at the supermarket (I used the Club House brand.) If you don’t have Pumpkin Spice on hand, substitute 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg and a pinch of cloves.

You’ll need 4 ramekins to bake the custard (small ceramic baking cups like in the picture above.) You can get these at the dollar store or most kitchen stores. 

Ingredients:

3/4 cup evaporated skim milk 
1/2 cup canned pure pumpkin purée 
2 Tbsp dark brown sugar 
1 tsp pumpkin spice 
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract 
2 large eggs

Boil 2 cups of water in the kettle while you preheat the oven to 350 F.

Throw all ingredients except the eggs in the blender and combine. Taste the mixture and add more brown sugar if desired (I’ve kept mine on the low side.) Add eggs and mix again until smooth. Wait about 5 minutes so the bubbles on top of the custard dissipate.

Put the ramekins into a 8 x 8 in (2 L) metal baking pan and fill evenly with the mixture. Next, pour the boiling water into the pan until it’s halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

Put the pan in the oven (carefully! you don’t want to spill that water.) Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the custard has set. Remove from pan and let cool on a wire rack. Done!

The custards will be wonderfully risen with these perfect tops when you take them out of the oven. These will soon collapse. Never fear, you can fill that well with vanilla-whipped ricotta and pomegranate seeds!

I whip my ricotta with some pure vanilla extract right in the container and then dollop it on as I need. Also, I pre-peel the pomegranate and sprinkle it on, but you could also use dried cranberries, cherries or even fresh blueberries here. Or if you’re in a rush, omit altogether – the custards will still taste delicious (as evidenced in the picture below.)

You can also cover the custards with plastic wrap and keep them in the firdge for a couple of days. 

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Comments
3 Responses to “Dessert for Breakfast: Baked Pumpkin Custard”
  1. Margaret says:

    This sounds so, so wonderful! I’m a pumpkin fanatic and will just love this, I know.

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