Pumpkin pie has always been one of my favorite treats at Thanksgiving time, or any other time for that matter. I don’t know if it’s the spices I like most, or the smooth consistency of the filling, or maybe the aroma that fills the house when it’s baking – I just know that I like it! So it’s only natural that I would love this pumpkin custard too, because it has all the flavors of pumpkin pie, but without the crust. And without the crust, pumpkin custard has less calories than pumpkin pie, so I can eat it more often without feeling too guilty!
If you have your own homegrown pumpkin puree, this is a great way to use it. Butternut squash puree works well too. Lately I have been fascinated with growing all kinds of winter squashes, so we usually have an assortment of squash/pumpkin puree in the freezer. They all work in this custard. So does canned pumpkin puree, if you don’t happen to have any homegrown.
I use almond milk in this recipe, but soy or cows milk would work just as well. I can’t think of a good substitute for the maple syrup though. You certainly don’t have to use the most expensive type here. I usually cook with a Grade A Dark Amber maple syrup, which has lots of flavor and isn’t quite as expensive as the lighter grades. But please use real maple syrup, the kind that comes from the cooked-down sap of a maple tree, and not some artificially flavored high-fructose corn syrup. Your taste buds will thank you, and so will the maple syrup farmers and producers.