Some say it’s closer to how the first settlers in the US might have made what we now call pumpkin pie. I’m not sure if that’s true or not, but this dairy-free pumpkin custard is so pretty baked in the pumpkin shell and is also gluten-free, Paleo-friendly, and delicious. We made it for our neighbors this Halloween, and I think it might make it to my Thanksgiving table as a perfect starter or Paleo Thanksgiving side dish. It looks elegant and advanced, but it’s really very simple to make and also happens to be healthy!
I remember making this dish several years ago and I’ve been wanting to recreate it, in a dairy-free version, for a long time. Using the creamy full-fat coconut milk fits the bill and you don’t taste the coconut with all the delicious spices that still aren’t overwhelming.
- 2 small baking pumpkins (about 6-8” in diameter)
- 1 can full-fat coconut milk
- 1 can coconut cream*
- 6 large eggs
- ¼ cup real maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon molasses
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice blend (or cinnamon)
- ½ teaspoon cardamom
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Fresh nutmeg to garnish, optional
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Carefully cut a small circle around stem of pumpkins and remove top.
- Scoop out seeds and loose flesh and set aside (or save for cleaning and roasting).
- Place pumpkins and lids on a parchment-lined rimmed baking pan.
- In a saucepan over medium-high heat, bring coconut milk and cream to a boil and set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat eggs, maple syrup, and spices with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and frothy (about 1 minute).
- Very slowly (a tablespoon at a time at first to temper eggs), drizzle hot milk into mixture while mixing on medium speed.
- When mixture is fully combined, mix on high speed an additional 30 seconds.
- Pour mixture into pumpkins and place in oven.
- Carefully pour about 1 cup water around pumpkins on pan.
- Bake at 350 degrees, uncovered, for 60-90 minutes.
- Custard is done when it looks firm and a knife inserted into center comes out clean.
- Garnish while warm, if desired, with fresh grated nutmeg.
- *May substitute with a second can of full-fat coconut milk.
- To serve, scoop a serving of custard with a little of the baked pumpkin flesh.
Do you love pumpkin dishes? I have more in my holiday e-book full of allergy-friendly recipes for the holidays – grab Everyday Welcome: Cozy Holidays for more inspiration!
When you serve the custard, scoop out a little of the soft pumpkin from the shell as well. It’s a little savory and the texture contrasts nicely with the creaminess of the custard.
We served this as a sort-of-dessert alternative to all the candy, but it would make a beautiful side dish on the Thanksgiving table, and because I love all things breakfast, I also think this would be delicious and filling served for the happiest meal of the day with a strong cup of coffee. You could make it the day before and serve it cold, or follow the directions up to filling the shell, and pop in the oven early in the morning. (If you choose this option, be sure to set your filled pumpkin on a tray with sides to avoid leaks, and store in the refrigerator till you bake it.) And if you’re looking for another pumpkin breakfast option, try the Pumpkin Spice Latte Smoothie. 🙂
What’s your favorite pumpkin dish?
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