After a big, beautiful northern Thanksgiving dinner of moose, caribou, turkey or duck I'm not always up for a full-blown pumpkin pie, crust and all. This lighter (and gluten free!) pumpkin custard, modified from the original recipe on Food52, which was in turn taken from the back of the Libby's canned pumpkin label, is essentially the filling we know and love without the crust. With a little bit of whipped cream and some bright, sweet, tart low bush cranberries marinated for a few days in rum and birch syrup and poured over top, this dessert satisfies the need for pumpkin, for tradition, and for the fruits of the boreal forest we crave at this time of year. Those who don't live in Canada's north--well, you can substitute cultivated cranberries, cup for cup, but not raw--they're a bit too mealy. Try cooking them first, with a bit of water to moisten, over medium high heat for a scant five minutes. Then marinate as directed.
¾ cup (180 ml) sugar
1 tsp. (5 ml) ground cinnamon
½ tsp. (2.5 ml) salt
½ tsp. (2.5 ml) ground ginger
¼ tsp. (1.2 ml) ground cloves
2 large eggs
2 cups (500 ml) pumpkin purée
1 ½ cups (375 ml) evaporated milk
1 cup (250 ml) 35 % cream for topping
Preheat oven to 350° F (175 C). Mix sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger, and cloves in a small bowl. Beat eggs in a large bowl. Whisk in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually whisk in evaporated milk.
Pour into a 10-inch (23-cm) glass or ceramic pie dish. Bake until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean, from 50 to 60 minutes. Cool on a wire rack, then refrigerate overnight. Serve with whipped cream and rum-soaked cranberries.
Makes 10 to 12 servings.
Start soaking the cranberries two to three days before you plan to serve.
1 cup (250 ml) low bush cranberries
½ cup (125 ml) dark or amber rum
¼ cup (60 ml) birch syrup
Whisk together rum and birch syrup in a small bowl. Add cranberries, cover, and store in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.
To serve, strain cranberries through a sieve. Pour a tablespoon over each serving of custard and whipped cream, and drizzle a bit of rum mixture over top.
Makes 1 cup (250 ml) rum-soaked cranberries.
Tip: Make a tart and spicy cocktail with the leftover rum mixture, or use it for soaking fruitcake, the next big cooking project on the fall agenda.