Pumpkin Custards with Hazelnut Caramel

November/December 1992

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Spiced creamy pumpkin custards are topped with a hazelnut caramel sauce in the perfect dessert for fall entertaining.

Pumpkin Custards with Hazelnut Caramel

Makes: 6 servings

Active Time:

Total Time:


  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups nonfat evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 10 hazelnuts, (1/2 ounce)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, (Neufchâtel)
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cognac, or vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Whisk together pumpkin, eggs, milk and vanilla in a medium bowl.
  3. Combine brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt in a small bowl. Sift into the pumpkin mixture and whisk until incorporated. Divide the mixture equally among six 3/4-cup custard cups.
  4. Set the cups in a baking dish and pour in boiling water to come halfway up the outsides of the cups. Bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Remove the custards from the oven and cool them to room temperature. Chill for at least 2 hours before serving.
  5. Meanwhile, spread hazelnuts on a pie plate and toast in a 350°F oven for 10 minutes to loosen the skins. Rub off skins and let cool. Chop finely and set aside.
  6. Line a baking sheet with foil. Combine granulated sugar and water in a small, heavy saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook, without stirring, until the syrup is a deep amber color, 5 to 10 minutes. Do not let the syrup burn. Pour the hot syrup onto the prepared baking sheet. Quickly tilt to spread the caramel in a thin layer. Sprinkle on the toasted nuts. Let cool. When the caramel is hard, break into shards.
  7. Process cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar and Cognac (or vanilla) in a food processor or blender until smooth. Garnish the custards with a spoonful of the cream and shards of the hazelnut caramel.

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Prepare the custards through Step 4; cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. The caramel (Step 6) can be prepared up to a week ahead and stored in an airtight container.


Per serving: 352 calories; 7 g fat (3 g sat, 3 g mono); 85 mg cholesterol; 63 g carbohydrates; 11 g protein; 2 g fiber; 384 mg sodium; 543 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (138% daily value), Potassium (16% dv), Calcium (32% dv).

Carbohydrate Servings: 4

Exchanges: 4 other carbohydrates, 1 fat

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Recipe Categories

Type of Dish
Desserts, other
Health & Diet Considerations
High calcium
Gluten free
Ease of Preparation
Total Time
More than 1 hour
Preparation/ Technique
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