Pumpkin Custard, Hold the Dairy

(reposted from 2009)

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

Missing anything? No.

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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.

Grilled Mediterranean Salad

We have to wait until the very end of the season for red and yellow peppers from our garden. But what a treat!! We especially love them raw, sliced for a sweet healthy snack.


grilled Mediterranean Veggie Salad photo by vsimon

But we also like them grilled. This Mediterranean Salad is just the dish to use the bounty in our garden. We use tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant here. You can buy all of these from the store of course.

Add some chickpeas and walnuts to make this a hearty vegan dish. Perfect for Meatless Mondays.

Stew transformed into salad!

I adapted a Mediterranean stew so we could enjoy a brilliant sunny day and grill on the deck. No need to be cooped up inside.

So rather than a warm and saucy stew, we had a warm and tangy grilled salad. I switched out cherry tomatoes for canned. Added sherry vinegar for a punch of flavor. And walnuts for crunch.

Sherry vinegar deserves wider use and is perfect here. But you can use other vinegars, like apple cider or balsamic.

Do not use malt vinegar or black rice vinegar. There are not gluten free. 

Grilled Mediterranean Salad

serves 4 as a main dish, 8 as a side

6 skinny eggplants, large dice

3 bell peppers, chopped (1 each green, yellow and red)

1 onion, chopped

1 pound cherry tomatoes

1 tablespoon oil

1 15 ounce can chickpeas, drained

2/3 cup kalamata olives, halved

1/3 cup sherry vinegar

2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, minced

¼ cup chopped walnuts

Chives for garnish, optional

Heat grill to high.

Line a rimmed sheet pan with nonstick foil.

Put diced veggies (eggplant, peppers, onion) and cherry tomatoes on prepared pan. Toss with oil.

Grill over medium heat for about 20 minutes. You want to mostly leave the veggies alone, to caramelize. Stir only occasionally.

Watch the grill though. Some grills are very hot, and the veggies will burn quickly. If your grill is like this, stir frequently and cook for less time. You do not want veggie charcoal.

When veggies are tender and browned in places, put into a large bowl. Toss with chickpeas, kalamata olives, sherry vinegar, and rosemary.

Put salad on a serving platter and top with walnuts and chives. Or fresh rosemary sprigs if you have them. Enjoy!


veggies ready to grill photo by vsimon

Wonder Buns


gluten free wonder buns photo by lsimon

Five minutes, start to finish. No big scary commitment of time or ingredients. No need to hope, just hope for edible results.

You are assured of gluten free whole grain goodness, light texture, and a perfect size for a burger or sandwich. Cook it lickity split in the microwave in 90 seconds. These truly are a wonder!

I found several versions of this on the Celiac.com forum. And it appeared in the Celiac Sprue Association newsletter. I have altered it a bit, and make it successfully with several different flours.

Many whole grain gluten free flours work

Yeah, no refined starches. Sorghum is pictured. Teff gives it a deeper brown color and rich flavor. Millet yields a light colored bun.

Size matters

Make this in a 10 oz custard cup for a burger or sandwich size bun, as pictured.

For two small dinner rolls, use the same recipe and divide the batter into two 6 oz custard cups. Microwave these together for only 80 seconds total.

Or double the recipe below and put into two 10 oz custard cups.  Microwave each for 90 seconds, one at a time.

I use inexpensive Pyrex custard cups, available in my regular grocery store.

Molasses instead of sugar

Molasses give a bit richer color, more antioxidants than white sugar, and the bun is a bit moister.

Cocoa for color

You will not taste it, but it makes the buns brown. And adds its own antioxidants. I leave it out of the millet version.

Nut meal

No need to buy nut meal if you have nuts and a spice or coffee grinder. Whiz them in the grinder for just a few seconds and you get light, fluffy meal.


Without the seeds, the sides and bottom of the bun looks steamed rather than baked. Adding seeds all around looks very inviting. I like sesame, caraway, millet, poppy and whole cumin seeds. They add flavor, fragrance, and crunch.

Wonder Bun

yield: one 3 ½ inch bun

ingredients metric measures
1 large egg 50 gm
¾ teaspoon molasses 4 ml
2 tablespoons sorghum flour 18 gm
1 tablespoon almond meal 5 gm
1 tablespoon ground flax seed 5 gm
½ teaspoon baking powder 2 gm
½ teaspoon cocoa powder 1 gm
a pinch of salt, optional pinch
1 teaspoon sesame seeds 2 gm

In a small bowl, beat the egg and molasses with a fork, for about a minute.

In another small bowl, add the flour, almond meal, ground flax seed, baking powder, and cocoa powder. Add a pinch of salt if you like. Make sure everything is thoroughly mixed so you do not see little balls of cocoa or bitter baking soda.

Add the eggs to the dry ingredients, stir until smooth.

Oil a 10 oz Pyrex custard cup and sprinkle sesame seeds on the bottom and sides.

Pour the batter into the cup. Top with more sesame seeds.

Microwave for 90 seconds.

That is it! A ready to eat, tasty bun. A wonder bun!

Try these and tell us how you make them. What flours and seeds? I think other nuts would be grand. And herbs or cheese. How about cinnamon and raisins?

Let your imagination go wild. You can have so much fun with just a little investment in time and ingredients.

Added 9-8-2009.  Please visit the pantry to view a couple of free videos, including Wonder Buns.  We are just starting to stock the pantry, there is much more to come. We invite you to become a member,  help yourself to the free pantry, and stay tuned for new content. Thanks!

Added 10-2-2009 Wonder Buns were included in the October edition of the gluten free lifestyle blog carnival. This informative event was started by Kim of The Food Allergy Coach. This edition was hosted by Gluten Free Gidget, and it included product reviews and tempting recipes!