The smooth texture of these custards resembles a cross between pumpkin pie and pudding. The crunchy topping is the perfect complement. There'll be some leftover for you to sprinkle over ice cream or enjoy as a snack.
Stir together first 11 ingredients in a large bowl.
Pour mixture evenly into 8 lightly greased 4-ounce ramekins or custard cups. Place in a large roasting pan; add hot water to pan to depth of 1". Bake, uncovered, at 325° for 55 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat; add pecans and 1/2 cup sugar. Cook, stirring constantly, 6 minutes or until sugar is dissolved and mixture is just golden brown. Pour onto a parchment paper-lined pan, spreading evenly. Cool completely; break into small pieces, and set aside.
Remove ramekins from water; cool slightly on wire racks. Cover and chill up to 24 hours, if desired.
To serve, top each custard with 1 1/2 tablespoons pecan topping.
Christmas with Southern Living 2002