I have two confessions.
1.) I only like the innards of pumpkin pie. Sure, I’ve eaten plenty of pie crusts in my day, but only because Miss. Manners says it’s rude to scoop out the good stuff and leave a pathetic-looking crust on one’s plate. Of course, now that I don’t eat wheat, I have a perfectly valid excuse for leaving the crust on the plate…OR I could just make this pudding, which takes all the good stuff of pumpkin pie innards and makes it better—and more pudding-like.
2.) This is my second attempt at this recipe. It was successful. The first attempt produced a very tasty pumpkin pie soup. Why? Because I decided the directions were dumb. Why would you heat sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan over medium heat without any liquid? To make pudding, apparently. I learned my lesson. Trust the directions—in this case, at least. No need to go overboard.
(Adapted from Cooking Light)
6 tbsp organic sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 ¾ cup skim milk
½ cup pureed pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
¼ cup walnut halves
2 tbsp organic sugar
¼ cup whipping cream
1. In a medium bowl, combine the milk and egg. Whisk. Set aside.
2. Combine 6 tbsp sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring gently with a wooden spoon, for about 2 minutes.
3. Gradually add the milk mixture to the sugar mixture. Whisk! Keep whisking and bring the mixture to a boil. Let it boil for 1 minute (keep whisking). Remove from heat.
4. Combine the pumpkin, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl. Stir to combine.
5. Add the pumpkin mixture to the milk mixture (one dollop at a time), whisking constantly.
6. Move the saucepan back to the burner and cook the pudding over low heat—don’t stop whisking—for 3 minutes. (They warn you not to let the mixture boil. I say, if it boils, you don’t have it over low heat.)
7. Pour the pudding into individual bowls or ramekins. Cover the surface of the pudding with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.
8. Add 2 tbsp of sugar and the walnuts to a small nonstick skillet over low heat. Cook, stirring, until the sugar get gooey and turns golden brown. (They say this will take 3 minutes. Perhaps it will, if you’re using “low heat” with the ability to boil something, but it took our sugar 12-15 minutes to become gooey—and that’s after I turned the heat up to medium.) Toss the walnuts to cover them with the gooey sugar.
9. Transfer the gooey walnuts to a plate or a parchment paper-covered plate or a cooking spray-coated aluminum foil-covered plate. Let them cool, then chop into chunks.
10. Place the whipping cream in a bowl and beat at high speed until stiff peaks form.
11. To serve, top each bowl of pudding with whipped cream and candied walnuts.