Pumpkin Custard, Hold the Dairy

(reposted from 2009)

Tasty? Yes. Creamy? Yes. Healthy? Yes. Simple? Yes. 

Missing anything? No.

pumpkin_custard (5)

dairy free pumpkin custard photo by vsimon

You would never guess this creamy pumpkin custard is dairy free. I simply take a standard pumpkin pie filling recipe and substitute firm silken tofu for the evaporated milk in the recipe.

And can you believe it? I did not have the recipe written down. There are hundreds of recipes in my files, and no pumpkin custard recipe. Even though I make it every fall. Apparently, I have been relying on the recipe on the can, and the substitution was in my head. Time to write it down!

Uh oh, I am in trouble.

There was NO canned pumpkin in the store a few weeks ago. There was just a big, sad, bare, spot where the pumpkin usually resides. I could bake a pie pumpkin and use the flesh. But then it would not be a simple, easy recipe.

I am happy to report the store now has cases of canned pumpkin featured on the end caps. Cases and cases. The pile is as tall as I am.

So now we have pumpkin custard. This makes a perfect ending to a gluten free Thanksgiving. Or a pretty nice “on the go” breakfast when you have made it the night before. Protein, fiber, vitamin A.

I admit I have two if it is all I am having for breakfast. 🙂


pumpkin custard, hold the dairy photo by vsimon

Pumpkin Custard, Hold the Dairy

Adapted from Libbey’s Famous Pumpkin Pie recipe. I ditched the crust, subbed tofu for evaporated milk, and increased the sugar a bit. Evaporated milk has some natural sweetness, tofu does not.

Yield: 6 servings metric measures
1 cup dark brown sugar 240 gm
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 3 gm
½ teaspoon ground ginger 1 gm
¼ teaspoon ground cloves .5 gm
½ teaspoon salt 3 gm
2 large eggs 100 gm
1-15 oz can pure pumpkin 425 gm
1-12 oz package firm silken tofu 350 gm
1/4 cup chopped pecans 30 gm

freshly grated nutmeg, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Put dark brown sugar, spices, salt, eggs, pumpkin, and tofu in a blender and process until smooth, about a minute.

Place 6 ramekins in a 9×13 baking pan. Add water to the 9×13 pan, until it comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins. This is called a water bath and allows gentle heat to bake the custard. You can bake the custard without it, but it won’t be quite as creamy.

Pour the pumpkin mixture into the ramekins. Bake for 30 minutes.

Allow to cool and remove ramekins from the 9×13 pan. Drain the water. Put the ramekins back in the 9×13 pan and cover with plastic wrap. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Garnish with chopped pecans and nutmeg. Enjoy!

Note: you can substitute 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice in place of the cinnamon, ginger, and cloves.

11-1-09 These beauties were submitted to the pumpkin packed October issue of Go Ahead Honey, it is Gluten Free. This monthly blogging event was started by Naomi Devlin of Straight into Bed Cakefree and Dried. And hosted in October by Life, Gluten Free. There were over 20 sweet and savory ideas. Very tempting!

11-04-09 Mary Frances Pickett of Gluten Free Cooking School is holding a Thanksgiving blogging event. Head over and share your specialty. All are welcome, you do not need to have a blog.

11-15-09 Bon Appetit magazine is holding a blogger Holiday Bake-Off. I have entered these Pumpkin Custards. There are several categories, including cakes, pies, custards, cookies, more. Add your creations at BA Holiday Bake-Off. And be sure to vote for your favorite in each category.

23 thoughts on “Pumpkin Custard, Hold the Dairy”

  1. I made these last night. It took 45 minutes to bake the custard to the completely done texture I like. I did not want any runnyness. I live in Kansas, so altitude is not the problem! 🙂

    Everyone thought these are were very filling and too large for a dessert after a substantial meal. In the future, I will be baking these in 2/3 Cup portions. (about 8 custards) That will probably only take the 30 – 35 minutes to bake also.

    Everyone enjoyed the taste of these and just saved half for breakfast. Yummy!

  2. This was VERY easy to make and tasted great! I didn’t tell people it had tofu in it as most of my clan is southern and tofu is considered alien goo!

    However, my confirmed meat and potatoes guy friend tried it and liked it very much. Big compliment coming from him. Another friend of mine will be making this recipe as well after she tried it at our Thanksgiving dinner.

    1. Hi Sharol,
      I don’t grease or spay the ramekins. But it would not hurt to do so.

      Your custards will be softer with soft silken tofu. And firmer with extra firm. I think I would like these with soft tofu. I buy firm silken because it comes in a light version. I also like a few fewer calories.

      The capacity of my ramekins is 6 oz, or 3/4 cup when they are full to the top. There is slightly less than this in each ramekin pictured.

  3. How do you know it’s done cooking. I have some ramekins that are slightly larger and meant for little pumpkin desserts that I’d like to use but I know it will need to cook longer and wanted to know what the signs of doneness were. Thanks.

    1. Hi Jennifer,
      Great question. If you still make 6 custards, the time may be the same. Or even a bit less if the ramekins are wide and the custard isn’t as deep.

      If you are making the same amount of custard and using fewer ramekins, they may take a bit longer. But not much.

      The custards will puff up a bit as they cook. The middle will go from wet and soft, to mostly dry and firm. They won’t jiggle if you shake them. Be careful, they are surrounded by hot water. If they crack they are done for sure.

      They have residual heat from the water bath and you don’t have to worry too much about undercooking them if you cook for 30 minutes. The longer they cook, the firmer they get.