Today’s recipe for New England Pumpkin Caramel Pudding comes from the cookbook, The Nantucket Holiday Table. In that book, author Susan Simon references a long-time Nantucket resident named Martha Burgess Fish who kept a diary about her life with her husband and children on Cherry Grove Farm. That diary is now part of the archives at the Nantucket Historical Association and it offers a glimpse into day-to-day life on that island of Nantucket at that time.
Back in the late 1800’s, according to Mrs. Fish, Thanksgiving dinner menus in New England “…had puddings as usual…” such as this delicious New England Pumpkin Caramel Pudding!
This Pumpkin Caramel Pudding is a delicious and very special alternative to a traditional pumpkin pie. It has the same wonderful spicy pumpkin flavors but with a richer and creamier consistency plus a wonderful caramel sauce! And – it’s actually easier to make than a pie because you don’t have to fuss with making a crust!
Traditionally, puddings like this would be baked in a “charlotte mold” – which has a fairly distinctive shape and size that is deeper than most other baking dishes. While you could buy a charlotte mold here, we actually used an 8-cup ceramic soufflé dish (because we had it already) which has a similar deep size and shape.
Also, this New England Pumpkin Caramel Pudding is best made the day before so that the pudding has a chance to fully set! And if you are the one bringing the dessert to a family gathering, just bake, refrigerate and carry the pudding mold (or dish) and then invert it onto your serving platter once you get to your party. Top with whipped cream and candied ginger for a festive look!Print
A few notes: The hardest part of this recipe is getting the caramel sauce right. But if you follow our directions exactly, it will be perfect! If you don’t have a charlotte mold or souffle dish, any round 8-cup baking dish will work. If your dish is low and wide, you will likely need to reduce the baking time.
For the Caramel Sauce
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup of water
For the Pudding
- 6 large eggs
- 2 cups pumpkin puree
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ rounded teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ rounded teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ rounded teaspoon ground cloves
- 3 cups heavy cream, divided
- Optional crystallized ginger, diced for garnish
- In a small sauce pan, place water and sugar and bring to a boil stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce to a medium boil and do not touch or stir this mixture again. If you do, the sugar will crystalize instead of turning amber. Cook this mixture using this method for 15-20 minutes. Using a wet pastry brush, brush the sides as sugar crystalizes on the inside of the pan but do not let the brush touch the surface of the mixture. Eventually you will see it start to slowly turn amber. Again, do not stir but instead as it begins to brown, roll the pan around and around the burner so that it browns evenly. It may smoke a bit so watch carefully and do not let it get too dark (at this point, a minute too long will burn it so watch closely). As soon as it is amber (yellowish brown), immediately remove the pan and pour directly into the eight cup soufflé glass baking dish. Quickly pick up the dish and roll it around so the caramel sauce coats the sides all the way up to the rim. It will be molten hot so do not touch the sauce with your fingers. Set this coated dish aside someplace to cool while you make the pudding. It will harden as it cools.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place a roasting pan filled halfway with hot tap water. Also boil more water on the stove and hold until needed.
- In a large bowl, beat eggs and add pumpkin puree. Mix until combined and add sugar, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and two cups of the heavy cream. (The third cup gets whipped as a topping when ready to serve).
- Mix this pumpkin mixture until well combined and add it to the caramel coated soufflé glass baking dish.
- Place the filled baking dish into the pan with the water and pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come to at least half way up the sides of the glass baking dish.
- Bake for two hours (less if you are using some other baking dish). A clean paring knife inserted in the center should come out clean so check at 90 minutes then every 15 minutes.
- Remove from water and place on a trivet to cool for 30 minutes then refrigerate in the baking dish for four hours or overnight covered with plastic.
- After it sits for at least four hours, place a serving platter over the top and quickly invert onto the platter and remove the glass baking dish. The pudding should slide right out, and the now liquid caramel sauce will pour out over the pudding and onto the platter.
- Whip the remaining cup of cream to stiff peaks and with a pastry bag and star tip, squeeze out swirly mounds of cream around the pudding and platter.
- Last, sprinkle the candied ginger pieces over the top of each mound of whipped cream and serve in wedges with a pie server.
Recipe adapted from The Nantucket Holiday Table
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