Pumpkin Pie Custards with Brulee Topping and Vegan Mofo

Last week I mentioned on my facebook page that I would make October the month of all things pumpkin.  I had totally forgotten that October was also the start of Vegan Mofo, but inadvertently I had already chosen my theme!  I asked for suggestions on what to call my month of pumpkin recipes, and kind of loved the idea “Pumpkinfest”!  Thanks guys.

Before I get to today’s Pumpkinfest recipe, I have an announcement to make.  Last week I made some decisions about my work.  The past few weeks I have been feeling pretty burnt out.  I want to blog 2-3 times a week.  No. Actually, I’d like to blog 4-5 times a week.  In reality, I might squeak out 2 posts a week if I’m on top of life.  And, I’ve been pretty active with social media as well, which while wonderful for what it allows us to do in communicating messages – is also very time consuming.  Lately I am finding it quite hard to do the things I love while also being a mom to three.  I’m a one-mom show here.  Many days I feel my house is falling apart and I’m always rushing to get things done.  As many of my long-term readers know, my husband and I moved out of our home town many years ago, so we don’t have our extended family in the area.  We don’t have much help with the girls – or even a lot of other family presence in their lives (which I think is so important, but not something we are able to change right now).  I thought as our girls got older that I’d have more time in the day, but it’s just not the case.  So, I did some thinking about my work and where to direct my efforts in order to continue on some level with what I love.  I have decided to reduce my time on social media and to some extent, blogging.  I’ll still be here, just not quite so intensely as I’ve been in recent months.  Instead, I plant to redirect my ‘free time’ to my new recipes that are stacking up beside me, and possibly another book project.  With that, I will be discontinuing the plant-powered kids series at this time as well.  The posts take a very long time to produce, and I am trying to be most productive with the time I have and without having any assistance.  Hopefully you understand, and as I committed to Pumpkinfest, I plan to push out as many pumpkincrecible recipes as I can this month (though nowhere close to the Vegan Mofo target of 20 posts – will I get kicked out of Mofo for that?).  If I catch some kind of break that allows me to hire an assistant or otherwise free up more time, I’ll be back with more gusto.

On to the food.

I have been teasing you, my patient readers, with these Pumpkin Pie Custards for two years.  I think that might be vegan foodie cruelty.  In my defense, I did get the recipe out in the spring when Let Them Eat Vegan was published.  But, who’s eating pumpkin then?  (‘fess up if it’s you!)

But, it’s time.  I’m long overdue sharing this most fabulous recipe with you.  This is one of my fave-fave-FAVE recipes!  I make it every year during the holidays and it is a complete show-shopping, crowd-pleasing, please-give-me-the-recipe” recipe.  You can make it without the brulee topping, but it really is quite special with it.

Pumpkin Pie Custard from Let Them Eat Vegan

Pumpkin Pie Custards with Brulee Topping gluten-free, soy-free, oil-free Link to print/share

These custards are magical—creamy, luscious, and like having a mini pumpkin pie (without the crust!) all to yourself! These are on our annual Thanksgiving and Christmas menus, definitely make them for your holiday celebrations — and with the brûlée topping!

2/3 cup pumpkin puree (pure pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling), packed (I use Farmer’s Market Organic brand)

½ cup raw cashews

1 ¼ cups plain unsweetened non-dairy milk (almond or soy preferred, but choices is yours)

½ cup unrefined sugar (ex: coconut sugar)

¼ cup pure maple syrup

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 ¼ tsp agar powder

1 tsp arrowroot powder

1 tsp cinnamon

Few pinches freshly ground nutmeg

Pinch or two allspice

Pinch or two ground cloves

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

¼ tsp sea salt

Few teaspoons unrefined sugar for caramelized topping (optional, see note)

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place 5 or 6 ramekins (This is the size/type I have, they are about 3 1/4″ in diameter, and 2″ deep, holding about 3/4 cup) in an 8 by 11-inch glass baking dish. Bring roughly 3 cups of water to a boil in a kettle.  Meanwhile, in a blender (I use my rambo blender, it really is worth investing in for exceptional plant-powered recipes), combine all the ingredients (except the sugar for topping) and puree until very, very smooth. (I use a Blendtec; if you don’t have a high-powered blender, you will need to blend for a longer time, and scrape down the sides of the bowl a couple of times.)  Pour the boiled water into the baking dish to surround the ramekins (but don’t get any water in the ramekins). Then pour the pureed pumpkin mixture evenly into each ramekin. If using six ramekins (mine are 3 inches in diameter—from the inside—and almost 2 inches deep), they will be about two-thirds full; if using five, they will be just about completely full. Carefully place the baking dish into the oven. Bake for 32 to 34 minutes, until the custards are set around the edges but a touch looser in the center.  Carefully remove the baking dish from the oven and let cool slightly until you can safely remove and transfer each custard to a cooling rack. Let cool a little more. The custards are best still a little warm, but can also be served chilled.

Make It More-ish! Turn these custards into Pumpkin Brûlée! Sprinkle 1⁄2 to 1 teaspoon of unrefined sugar over the top, and then use either a small butane torch or oven broiler to caramelize it. If using the oven broiler: Set the oven to BROIL, and then place the individual ramekins under the broiler for 3 to 5 minutes. Check after 3 minutes, and then again at the 4-minute mark. If not done, broil for another minute or so. If doing this brûlée finish, do it soon before serving, as the crunchy topping will soften if prepared too long in advance.

With Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend, this dessert would be a perfect addition to your plant-powered menu.  I’ll have a few more ideas this week, stay tuned.

Have you ever had a pumpkin custard?  If you are in Canada, what is your plant-powered Thanksgiving menu?

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