06 December 2011

Pumpkin Custard Profiteroles

Because I cannot do something as simple as a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, I decided to make a dessert that was kind of a pumpkin pie with a twist-pumpkin custard profiteroles. These are made with a baked custard that has about the same consistency as does pie filling, but which is then put into hollow shells and drizzled with caramel.

I made the custard the night before so it had plenty of time to cool. what you'll need is:

3 cups whipping cream
2 1/4 cups canned pure pumpkin
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
9 large egg yolks

Notice the one ingredient egregiously left out? Vanilla! I'm not a fan of vanilla per say and I generally find it to be the most boring flavor on earth; on it's own. But it's a staple spice for baking for Pete's sake.
So whisk the heavy cream and all the spices (including vanilla) and bring it to a simmer while stirring occasionally.

Instead of liquid vanilla I used this ground vanilla bean from Williams Sonoma and substituted regular salt for fleur de sal.

Whisk sugar and egg yolks in a separate bowl then gradually whisk in the hot pumpkin mixture. It wouldn't be a bad idea to whisk in a couple tablespoons at first to temper the eggs. You really don't want to accidentally cook them.

The pour the mixture into an 8x8x2 glass or ceramic baking dish (or whatever you've got that fits into a 9x13), cover with foil, place in a 9x13 pan and fill said pan about halfway with water. Bake at 325 for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. You want the middle to be pretty solid and not jiggly.

Once baked, chill at least 4 hours (or overnight).

For the profiteroles:

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all purpose flour
3 large eggs
1 egg yolk

Bring the water, milk, butter, sugar, and salt to a boil. 

Add the flour and cook over medium-high heat, stirring vigorously, until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the pan. 

Transfer to mixer and beat until slightly cooled, about 3 minutes. Then add the 3 eggs 1 at a time, totally incorporating each before adding the next. Then add the egg yolk.

Drop dough in generous teaspoons unto parchment covered cookie sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375 for about 30...or until they look golden brown.

And you're still not done because there's caramel sauce and whipped cream to make.

For the caramel sauce:
1 cup sugar
1 stick butter
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Stir sugar and butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat until it's melted, then add the cream and bring to a boil whisking until all the bits are melted. Reduce to medium heat and simmer 5 minutes, then add the vanilla and simmer for another minute.

Whipped cream is relatively easy. You can cheat with the canned or frozen varieties if you like, or beat the bejesus out of heavy cream, adding a little sugar along the way, until it's nice and thick.

To assemble, use a sharp parring knife to cut off the tops of the profiteroles, generously fill with the pumpkin custard, then set the tops back on. Drizzle the caramel, as much as you like really, on top of each profiterole, top with whipped cream and chopped pecans.

And yum!

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