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Baked Pumpkin and Walnut Custard

Skip the crust and try this recipe for Pumpkin Custard, which has 70% fewer calories and 97% less saturated fat than the traditional pumpkin pie and includes heart-healthy walnuts.


6 small sugar pumpkins, 12 – 16 ounces each, and about 4 inches in diameter (to be used as decorative bowls)

¾ cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground ginger

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

¼ teaspoon salt

2 eggs

2 cups pumpkin puree

1 cup nonfat or lowfat evaporated milk

6 tablespoons chopped, toasted California walnuts


NOTE: These crustless, individual custards can be baked either in small, hallowed-out pumpkins, or in ramekins.  Instructions for both methods are given.

  1. To prepare the pumpkins, if you are using them, remove the stem end from each, and scrape the seeds and fibers from inside the pumpkins.  Cut a very thin slice off the bottom of each pumpkin, so they will sit flat, without wobbling.  Alternately, coat 6 ramekins, each about six-ounce capacity, with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Preheat the oven to 450ºF.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt, and stir with a whisk or spoon until evenly blended.  Add the eggs and pumpkin puree and beat until completely mixed.  Slowly pour in the evaporated milk, stirring until smooth.
  4. If you are using pumpkins, divide the filling among them, pouring about 1/2-cup into each.   Place the pumpkins on a parchment-lined shallow baking pan, with their tops next to them. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350ºF and continue baking about 1 hour more, or until the pumpkins are tender when pierced.  If the tops are done sooner, remove them.  If you are using ramekins, pour about 1/2-cup of filling into each.  Place the ramekins on a shallow baking pan.   Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325ºF and bake about 25 minutes more, or until a knife inserted in the filling comes out clean, or almost clean.
  5. Remove from the oven and transfer to a rack to cool (cool for an hour if baked in pumpkins).  Serve the custards warm, sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon of walnuts. Accompany with sweetened whipped cream, if desired.  The pumpkin lids may be place atop the pumpkins, or at a jaunty angle along side.

Nutritional Information

Based on 6 servings.

Per serving:

Calories 230
Total Fat 6g
Saturated 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 4g
Cholesterol 60mg
Sodium 75mg
Carbohydrates 38g
Dietary Fiber 3g
Protein 7g