Warm Pumpkin Custard

This dish is at its best, at its most comforting when served just warm: a rounded sweetness and gentle creaminess that perfectly matches its velvety just-set texture. You could use this mix for a refined pumpkin pie filling for Thanksgiving, though it is more aligned with a crème brûlée. I have put in this recipe to add some orange blossom water, which gently elevates the fragrance of the pumpkin. The Cortas brand (easily available online) is my preferred one as it is lighter in flavour and less concentrated than many others, and as such feels far more refined. That said, the custard is also delicious if you season it instead with some melon liqueur, but I am guessing this isn’t something in most people’s homes, unless you are expecting Delboy to come round for a cocktail. This might sound random, but melons and pumpkins are botanically very similar. Feel free to brûlée this or serve it plain. You could add some rum, maple syrup, cloves, whatever you fancy….I’ll leave that to you.

Pumpkin / Potimarron puree

1 Potimarron squash

- Bake the potimarron whole in the oven at 160℃ until completely tender. It should probe about 90℃ with a temperature probe.

- Leave to cool then cut in half and scoop out the seeds.

- Scoop the flesh and place in a blender with any juices that come out. Blend until smooth.

Custard mix

600g Whipping cream

400g Pumpkin puree (see above)

1 tbsp Orange blossom water

1/2 Tahitian vanilla pods, halved and scraped

2 Whole eggs

4 Egg yolks

120g Caster sugar

- Bring the cream, pumpkin puree and orange blossom water to a simmer then add the vanilla pod, remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 30mins.

- Return to a simmer, then whisk the egg yolks and sugar together and pour the cream onto this; whisk to dissolve.

- Preheat the oven to 110℃ and boil a full kettle of water.

- Pour the warm custard through a sieve and into a shallow gratin dish, and place this in a roasting tray; pour in the hot water from the kettle.

- Place in the oven and cook for 45 mins or until just set then remove from the oven. You can brûlée the top or serve plain.

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