Talk about flan to any Brazilian and we jump at it, for our love for Pudim de Leite is too strong. Combine the love of flan with the flavors of fall and this recipe for Pumpkin Flan is perfect for any dinner party or holiday occasion. I first got my hands on this recipe years ago, through the pages of the Gourmet Magazine (I still can’t get over) and have been making it for years.
I remember the many incredible recipes from that magazine. The work they produced wasn’t just delicious—they were memory made edible. It’s history in a bite. And the meal isn’t only about what’s on the table, it’s about the people sitting around it, and the meals that came before it, and the ones that will follow. It’s about tradition, which means that there are things that matter more than how it tastes. Although when recipes are as perfect as this one, it’s an Olympic gold medal at the table!
While I try to add variations to every Thanksgiving table, I always come back to this Pumpkin Flan. The recipe is just so perfect, so tested, so good and so reliable.
When making the caramel, be sure to tilt the ramekin so that it covers the entire dish.
You can choose to make it in a large ramekin as I did, if you’re serving a large group, or in individual ramekins if you prefer.
Cooking time will change slightly if you use individual ramekins, bake for 45 minutes instead of 60 plus minutes. Whether using a large or individual ramekin, be sure to use a water bath as it protects the custard from direct heat, and it helps to cook more evenly.
Wrapped in plastic film, the flan will keep for a good 7 days in the refrigerator. But once you unmold, it’s best to enjoy the same day.
Serves 8 to 10
For the Caramel and Flan
2 cups sugar
1½ cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
5 whole large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk
1 (15oz) can sold pack pumpkin puree ( I used Trader Joe’s)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup roasted and salted pumpkin seeds
Equipment: one 2-quart souffle dish or a round ceramic casserole dish and a water bath set up
Make the Caramel:
Put oven rack in the middle position and preheat oven to 350F.
Cook 1 cup sugar in heavy saucepan over moderate heat undisturbed, until it begins to melt. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally with a fork, until sugar melts into a deep caramel.
Pour over the dish, tilting it to cover the bottom and sides. Keep tilting as the caramel cools and thickens enough to coat, then let harden.
Make the Flan:
Brink cream and milk to a bare simmer in a saucepan over medium heat, then remove from heat.
Whisk together whole eggs, yolk, and remaining 1 cup sugar in a large bowl until combined, then whisk in pumpkin, vanilla, spices, and salt until combined.
Add the hot cream mixture in a slow stream, whisking well.
Pour custard over the caramel in dish, then bake in a water bath until flan is golden brown on top and it’s somewhat firm when you jiggle the ramekin, about 1¼ hours.
Remove dish from the water bath and transfer to a rack to cool at room temperature, then chill flan in the refrigerator until cold, at least 6 hours. Flan can be kept in the refrigerator wrapped in plastic film up to 7 days ahead of time.
Bring the flan to room temperature 20-30 minutes before serving. Run a thin knife between flan and side of the dish to loosen. Shake dish gently from side to side and when flan moves freely in dish, invert onto a large platter with a lip to catch the caramel.
Holding the dish and platter securely together, quickly invert and turn out flan onto platter.
Caramel will pour out over and around flan. Allow all the caramel to run down before lifting the dish.
Sprinkle the flan with pumpkin seeds just before serving.
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