A Thanksgiving meal wouldn't be complete without pumpkin, and here in Vermont we wouldn't dream of excluding our beloved maple syrup. We've combined the two in these elegant custards, featuring the best part of a pumpkin pie and saving calories for a luscious finish of real whipped cream. If you can find it, use Grade B dark amber syrup to get the best maple flavor.

Jim Romanoff
Source: EatingWell Magazine, Fall 2002


Recipe Summary

3 hrs


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Put a kettle of water on to heat for the water bath. Line a roasting pan with a folded kitchen towel.

  • Heat milk over low heat in a small saucepan until barely steaming but not boiling.

  • Whisk eggs and syrup in a large bowl until smooth. Gently whisk in the warm milk (a little bit at a time so the eggs don't cook). Add pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt; whisk until blended.

  • Divide the mixture among six 6-ounce (3/4-cup) custard cups. Skim foam from the surface. Place custard cups in the prepared roasting pan. Pour enough boiling water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the custard cups. Place the pan in the oven and bake, uncovered, until custards are just set but still quiver in the center when shaken, 45 to 50 minutes. Transfer custards to a wire rack and let cool for 45 minutes. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or until chilled.

  • To serve, top each custard with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkling of crystallized ginger.


Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 4. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Ingredient Note: If you can find it, use Grade B dark amber syrup to get the best maple flavor.

Nutrition Facts

210 calories; protein 6.7g; carbohydrates 37.3g; dietary fiber 1.2g; sugars 30.3g; fat 4.3g; saturated fat 1.8g; cholesterol 128.4mg; vitamin a iu 5157.9IU; vitamin c 1.3mg; folate 22.6mcg; calcium 156.5mg; iron 1.3mg; magnesium 26.9mg; potassium 290.5mg; sodium 179.2mg; thiamin 0.1mg; added sugar 26g.

Reviews (5)

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16 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 13
  • 4 star values: 2
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 1
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 4 stars
Great gluten free alternative when you crave pumpkin I made this recipe during a 6 month gluten free period and continue to make it after I went back on gluten (in small amounts). I have used 1% 2% and whole milk and prefer whole because it makes it taste a little richer. I also tried adding some vanilla extract and that was awesome. With whole milk and vanilla its almost like creme brulee! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Oh man!!! This is sooo good! If you like pumpkin pie you should definitely try this recipe. I didn't have any crystalized ginger but I sprinkled some raw sugar and chopped walnuts on top and that added a nice little crunch. Definitely eat it with whipped cream. Mine was the consistency of baby food but that didn't make a difference because it still rocked! I think next time I might add a little corn starch just to make it a little more firm. I was also a short on the syrup but I think the sweetness was just right. I imagine if I'd used 3/4 of a cup it would have been too sweet. This will absolutely be my go-to recipe to scratch my pumpkin itch! Mmm...it's like eating autumn on a spoon! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
This has a nice fluffy texture. A bit on the "too sweet" side for me. Think I would reduce the maple syrup a bit. Easy to make. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
To have a more blended final result (I was getting a pumpkin layer on the bottom like another reviewer mentioned) I mixed the ingredients a tiny bit differently: I mixed the pumpkin puree with the spices in one bowl. In another bowl I mixed the eggs and maple syrup tempered/mixed with the warm milk then poured about a third of this through a sieve into the pumpkin mixture mixed well then added the rest of the egg mixture (again through the sieve.) Mixed everything well again before pouring into the ramekins. It was much less foamy this way and the spices didn't tend to float on the top. When all is said and done though the texture (rich and creamy just like a custard should be...I did use whole milk) and taste of this dessert is so scrumptious even WITH the pumpkin layer on the bottom! It was a big hit on Thanksgiving day! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Light elegant easy and make-ahead After a calorie dense Thanksgiving dinner dessert sometimes seems like an obligation instead of a treat. I made this dessert a day ahead which simplified my feast preparation. It was very easy and fast to make - even the clean up. But the best part was how good it was. The pumpkin pie lovers raved about it and those of us who find pie a little heavy at the end of the meal loved this creamy light and flavorful dessert. So GOOD! Pros: delicious healthy alternative perfect ending Cons: need ramekins or pots de creme dishes Read More
Rating: 5 stars
one of my favorite recipes! pumkin pie without the crust:) I love this recipes for many reasons... it is easy to obtain the ingredients doesn't need crust to be splendid easy to prepare and my boys love it for a snack or desert even in the summertime. This is an entirely soothing custard to eat. It is especially popular after visits to the orthodontist. Pros: light easy to prepare and flavorful Cons: I can't think of any Read More
Rating: 5 stars
These were super easy and tasted wonderful. They tasted like a rich pumpkin pie without the crust. I love that I was eating dessert yet I felt I was eating something healthy (lowfat and fiber from the pumpkin). I also love that they can be made a couple days in advance. I will definately make again. Angela Read More
Rating: 5 stars
You should add this to your gluten free section...it was fabulous Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Flavorful light and easy to make I loved this dessert. It is flavorful not too sweet has a nice texture and is easy to make. I served it with Light Whipped Cream from eatingwell website and topped with chopped pecans. I think it worked great as a substitute for whipped cream and ginger. Read More