It was with great relief that I read this headline in today’s paper:
Canned Pumpkin Shortage is Over
…and just in time for the holidays!
Pumpkin is such a wonderfully low carb vegetable–fewer than 10 grams per cup of mashed, cooked flesh–that it really puts a crimp in your pie not to be able to find it. I love to make soup of it in the fall. It just sort of rings in the season. And like so many low-sugar, low-starch, high fiber foods, it’s also dense with nutrients, just chocked full of alpha- and beta-carotenoids, potassium, magnesium, vitamins C and E to name just the highlights.
I had the devil of a time finding some of the stuff back during the summer when I was working on recipes for the SousVide Holiday cookbook that will be coming out this fall. The recipes are not necessarily intended to be low carb, though I sneaked in one for Cauliflower Puree, but some are pretty easily adaptable.
Among the dessert recipes is one for Pumpkin Creme Brulee, made in the original with sugar, but completely delicious made with Splenda, Truvia, or stevia or whatever non-caloric sweetener floats your boat.
Here it is, pimped low carb and with instructions for traditional cooking in a bain Marie in the oven.
Low Carb Pumpkin Crème Brulee
Serves 6 to 8
1 – 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (for greasing ramekins)
8 whole eggs
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup granular sucralose (or amount of another sweetener equivalent to 1/2 cup sugar)
1 cup cooked mashed pumpkin
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons brown sugar (1/2 teaspoon each for finishing)
1. Preheat oven to 325F. Put a roasting pan on the rack and fill it with about 1 inch of water.
2. Liberally butter the insides of all the ramekins.
3. In a heavy saucepan, mix the cream and sweetener and heat until the cream begins to send up little tendrils of steam (thermometer should read 140F.)
4. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs until light yellow.∗
5. Slowly pour the warm cream into the eggs, a bit at a time, whisking all the while to temper them.
6. Add the mashed pumpkin, spice, and vanilla and whisk to mix well.
7. Pour the pumpkin custard mixture into each ramekin, almost to the top.
8. Carefully place each filled ramekin into the heated water bath in the oven.
9. Cook the custard for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until set.
10. Remove from the water bath, allow custard to cool to room temperature, then cover ramekins and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
11. Before serving, let sit at room temp for about 30 minutes, then sprinkle each serving with ½ teaspoon brown sugar and caramelize the topping with a kitchen torch or under a preheated broiler.
At 5 to 6 grams of effective carb per serving, Pumpkin Creme Brulee is a real low-carb autumn treat. If you prefer, you can omit the caramelized sugar to save those 2.5 grams of pure sugar carb and simply top the custard with a dollop of artificially sweetened whipped cream instead. It won’t be creme brulee, of course, but it will still be finger lickin’ good!