If you don't have individual ramekins, use custard cups or a 1 1/2-quart baking dish, which will require an additional 15 to 20 minutes in the oven.
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
6 large egg yolks
1 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
1/2 cup half-and-half
1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 325°.
To prepare caramel, lightly coat 6 (6-ounce) ramekins with cooking spray. Combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water in a small, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Cook 4 minutes or until sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally. Increase heat to medium-high. Cook, without stirring, 6 minutes or until mixture turns golden around outside edges. Divide evenly into prepared ramekins. Set aside.
To prepare flan, combine 1/3 cup sugar and egg yolks in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Stir in pumpkin and next 3 ingredients (through cinnamon). Combine milk, half-and-half, and fresh ginger. Heat milk mixture over medium-high heat in a heavy saucepan to 180° or until tiny bubbles form around edge (do not boil). Gradually add half of hot milk mixture to egg mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk. Return milk mixture to pan. Reduce heat, and cook to 160°, stirring constantly with a whisk . Remove from heat. Strain through a sieve over a large bowl; discard solids.
Divide milk mixture evenly among prepared ramekins. Place cups in a 13 x 9–inch baking pan; add hot water to pan to a depth of 1-inch. Bake at 325° for 50 minutes or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean. Remove cups from pan; cool completely on a wire rack. Chill at least 8 hours.
Carefully loosen edges of custards with a knife. Invert ramekins onto plates. Drizzle any remaining caramel over custards.
The test kitchens definitely did not try this one. The enzymes in the fresh ginger curdle the milk. I tried it twice, thinking I must have done something wrong. But two batches of curdled milk later (I call it "gingered fresh ricotta"), I tried it using only powdered ginger. Bingo! A lovely custard with no sign of curdling in sight.
I tried to make this twice, and each time the milk mixture separated and curdled by the time it reached 130 degrees. I tried using a different size pot and lower heat, but the same thing happened again. A waste of time and ingredients.
This was soooo yummy but I cheated.... forget the sugar caramelizing part and just make the ginger pumpkin mixture. I did not worry at all about the temperature while cooking on the stove top. I just cooked the mixture on low heat and then baked as directed. I left my desserts in their pretty remeki's, chilled them outside in the snow for 2 hours and it tasted heavenly! But its pretty caloric so I may do it again and lighten up on the half and half. I also did not have fresh ginger and added a little extra ground ginger and it was still wonderful. I also served with vanilla ice cream. I will make again the cheaters way!
Very time consuming and the directions were not 100% clear. I ended up with five flans, not six and had to make it twice as the first go around was so thick it would not drip thru the sieve. I had to force the mixture thru the sieve the second time. And, the caramel mixture did not carmelize as the recipe indicated. This recipe definitely should have been better tested in the Cooking Light Test Kitchens.
There are several pumpkin flan recipes available that are not as time consuming to prepare as this one. Heating the mixture twice to specified temperatures & then straining it didn't seem to enhance the final product above the results achieved with the usual, quicker versions.
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