Creamy Pumpkin Custard wtih Golden Raisin Compote
Makes 6 servings
¼ cup granulated sugar, plus more for dusting the ramekins
2 pieces crystallized ginger (about 1 ounce), minced
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
½ cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon yogurt or sour cream
3 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup canned pumpkin (straight up pumpkin, without the pumpkin pie spices)
Golden Raisin Compote (recipe follows), for garnish
Preheat the oven to 325 F and position a rack in the center. Grease six 4-ounce ramekins or custard cups with nonstick cooking spray, then coat the bottoms and sides with a light dusting of granulated sugar, shaking out the excess. Have ready a flat-bottomed roasting pan large enough to accommodate the ramekins with ¾ inch of space in between them.
Place the granulated sugar and crystallized ginger in the bowl of a food processor and process until the ginger is finely ground. Place the mixture in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and add the cream cheese and light brown sugar. Cream the ingredients together on medium speed until smooth and lump-free, about 2 minutes. Beat in the yogurt or sour cream, followed by the egg yolks, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract and salt, then beat in the pumpkin puree until just combined.
Divide the mixture among the ramekins, filling them ¾ full and tapping each one once or twice on the counter to even the top. Place the ramekins in the roasting pan and add enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover the roasting pan with aluminum foil, tenting it slightly so the foil does not touch the top of the ramekins.
Carefully place the pan in the oven and bake the custards for 25 minutes, then rotate the pan to ensure even baking. Bake them for another 15 minutes and then check for doneness; the custards should appear slightly puffy and their surfaces should be matte. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the custards to cool for 10 minutes, then remove them from the bain-marie and chill until firm, at least 4 hours.
To serve, run the tip of a knife around the edge of each custard and flip it on to a serving plate. Top each serving with a spoon full of golden raisin compote.
Golden Raisin Compote
Makes about 1 ½ cups
1 heaping cup of raisins
¾ cup juice from fresh oranges
¼ cup golden or dark rum
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
Place the raisins, orange juice, rum, and sugar in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Simmer until the raisins are soft and plump, then pour the liquid through a sieve and strain out the raisins and place them in a small bowl. Return the liquid to the pan and continue simmering until it is syrupy and reduced to about ½ cup. Remove the pan and from the heat and whisk in the butter. Combine the sauce with the raisins and cool to room temperature.
Source: Gina De Palma, Dolce Italiano, 2007.