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Yummy Little Pumpkin Pots

Yes, I realize it sounds childish, but maturity has never really been my strong suit.  As a matter of fact, it was infantile impatience that turned me onto this recipe, so in reality I guess, it suits me just fine. 

It will suit you too, and I know this because I know that you too have nights when you’ve been just hankering for something warm and sweet.  Too lazy to go to the market and too late to just start whipping things up in the kitchen, you start foraging through the cabinets…”hmm, what have I got handy?”

And what have you got handy?  There’s cut and bake – but if you were going to go that route, you wouldn’t really bother even cooking it would you?  I know what I do, I’d just end up cutting the little bugger up and eat it half-frozen.  There’s brownies, but that’ll take forever to bake, longer to cool and then you’ll end up eating the whole blasted thing by yourself.  No good.

We’re not looking for a walk of shame type dessert here.  I’m thinking more like something soft, warm and sweet that really leaves you satisfied, but that you can still look yourself in the face in the morning.  Let’s be realistic.

Being realistic, what are the chances that right now as you’re here hanging out with me, that there’s milk in your fridge?  How about eggs?  If you’ve ever baked, it’s likely that you have vanilla extract and cinnamon as well.  And if you’re a human being and live on this planet, it’s also probably safe to say that you have sugar too.  It’s the pumpkin that’s a little iffy, but that’s why God made cans.  And after the first time you make this dish, you’ll keep an extra can or two around for next time. 

Working with canned pumpkin is the right way to go.  Period.  I know there are a million chefs out there who will tell you to go through the trouble of getting a real pumpkin and going through the ridiculous rigamaroll of steaming/roasting, peeling, etc. to get the thing from hard gourd to smushy soft goodness.  Trust me, it takes hours, it’s not worth it and you always end up with burned fingers.  Besides, “easy” has always been my credo.

Even if you’re feeling gourmet-ish and have a whole day to kill, resist the urge.  Not for this dish anyway.  As long as you buy 100% pure pumpkin, you’re good to go.  Check the ingredients, some cans come with pumpkin pie flavorings and sugar already in them.  If that’s what the store has, all the more power to Ya, that’s even easier – just add the eggs and milk.  I am however, a huge control freak and prefer to season things for my own taste so I go for the straight up Pumpkin. 

You know what though?  No where is it written that you can’t make up your own combinations too.  I turned my girlfriend on to this dish and she seasons it like pumpkin pie, uses heavy cream instead of milk and adds raisins.   I have a client who puts a blob of plum jam in the center, hey, whatever turns you on, Babe.  The point is to make something that is satisfying and simple when you need it most with the greatest of ease.  You can do that.

Libby’s is my preferred brand; however, I have also used the standard supermarket brands they will do just fine.  Be sure to check the ingredients and make sure there’s nothing funky, all you need is pumpkin. 

Preheat your oven to 350°

In a large mixing bowl, combine:

1 Large can of Pumpkin
3 Eggs
¾ Cup Sugar
1 Cup Milk – any kind
1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
Pinch of Cinnamon

Mix all of the ingredients together until thoroughly combined.  And disperse them among 6 small ramekins.  Spray the ramekins with Pam cooking spray and fill them ¾ of the way up.  Now, if you do not have ramekins, any small oven-proof bowls will do.  The mixture will fluff up as it cooks.  Sprinkle a little cinnamon/sugar on the tops before baking.  Now let’s get in the bath…..

Our cooking method is going to be a water bath and while it sounds like and extra fancy step, in reality, it’s faster, easier and less to clean up than conventional cooking methods, so in my book, a water bath is a dream.  You just need a baking dish that is large enough to fit the ramekins comfortably and some hot water.  Got those?

When using a water bath, you’re allowing the food to cook slower and therefore more evenly.  It’s the same method for our cheesecake and flourless chocolate cake recipes and it’s a good culinary tool to have in your mental rolodex.  After you’ve done it once or twice, you’ll think it’s easy.

Tips to making a water bath go smoothly;

  • Once you’ve decided to make this recipe, put the water on the stove first.  That way it will be boiling by the time you are ready.  If you use a tea kettle, it will be even easier to pour the water into the dish without spilling.
  • Place a kitchen towel on the bottom of the baking dish underneath the ramekins to prevent jiggling.
  • Place the whole water bath contraption in the oven (extend the rack) before you fill it with water. 
  • Then fill it up.  The water should come up ½ the sides of the ramekins.  Be careful not to get water into them. 

Set your oven timer for 20 minutes.  Check the pots, they should be a little golden brown around the edges, puffy in the center and when you insert a knife, it should come out clean.

Let ‘em cool down for at least 15 minutes and then eat.  They will sink down a little in the center as the cool, a scoop of ice cream fits perfectly (I have no issues with being shameful in my desserts).  Think about it, you we’re longing and wanting for something warm and sweet and got complete satisfaction in less than an hour, now how often do you get to say that??? 


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