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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Pumpkin Custard with Dark Chocolate Ganache


This sweet and savory seasonal custard is like pumpkin pie without the crust. It's healthier than pumpkin pie because it doesn't contain flour or sugar (just a small amount of honey).

It's not only gluten-free, but it's dairy-free too because I used coconut milk instead of cow's milk. The coconut milk and pasture-raised eggs add healthy fat and protein. Pumpkin adds fiber, antioxidants, B vitamins, trace minerals like copper and manganese that are essential for healthy bones, and disease-fighting nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, iron, calcium and magnesium. Warm spices like cinnamon and fresh ginger have medicinal effects too, like reducing inflammation in the body.

This custard can be served warm or at room temperature the day you make it, but I like to bake it ahead and chill it thoroughly. The combination of cool custard with warm dark chocolate ganache is really a winner.

If you prefer a more traditional garnish and don't need a dairy-free dessert, pecans and freshly whipped unsweetened cream work well too.

2 cups or 15 ounces unsweetened pumpkin purée
1 cup coconut milk (full fat)
2 eggs
¼ cup honey
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp freshly grated ginger

¼ tsp cloves
Pinch nutmeg

Pinch cardamom
¼ tsp sea salt

2 ounces 72 to 85% dark chocolate
2 tbsp organic heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 350F. Prepare enough boiling water to make a water bath.

In a mixing bowl combine the pumpkin, coconut milk, eggs, honey, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cardamom, and salt. Mix untiil smooth.  Pour the mixture into 5 half-cup ramekins.

Place the ramekins in a baking dish and add enough hot water to come at least half way up the sides. Take care to not splash any water into the custard. Place them in the oven and bake them for one hour.

Remove the custards from the oven but don't remove them from the water bath. Allow them to cool inside the water bath and remove them once they come to room temperature.

Serve the pumpkin custards within two hours of taking them out of the oven or cover them and place them in the fridge.

Just before serving, make the ganache: Warm the chocolate in a double boiler until just melted, then stir in the heavy cream until fully blended. Spoon the ganache over the custards and serve immediately.

Alternative topping: Arrange raw pecans on top of each custard and add a dollop of freshly whipped unsweetened organic cream.

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