'Tis The Season
My pumpkin custard is a modification of the more or less standard pumpkin pie recipe you see on cans of pumpkin at the grocery. Without a crust it does better if the texture is changed by more eggs, and if sweetened condensed milk is used instead of evaporated milk and sugar. Do not try to use any "fat free" condensed milk in this application. The uncooked custard does not blend well and the results are too sweet.
With this modification, you have to cook it in custard cups at a slightly lower temperature for optimum results. It also helps to bake the cups inside of cast iron skillets (you will need at least two normal sized ones). The heat absorbing surface beneath results in more even baking.
Joe Claus' Pumpkin Custard
One 29 oz. can of pure pumpkin
[This is the big can. You will want lots of this custard!]
Five large eggs
Two 14 oz. cans sweetened condensed milk
Pumpkin Pie Spice to taste
[I favor about 2 level teaspoons of PPS. You can also look on the pumpkin can for a homemade blend--it usually contains some version of a Ginger, Cinnamon, Ground Cloves or Nutmeg mixture. A much more delicate tasting version can be made with two level teaspoons of the Indian Arurvedic spice blend called Pita Churna.]
Pre-heat the oven to 425F. Beat the eggs lightly. Add the milk and blend. Then add the spices and blend. Add the pumpkin in about 1/3 can portions and blend until smooth. Fill nine to ten 3 & 3/4 in. custard cups and place them in the skillets.
When oven is fully preheated, bake the custard for a scant 15 minutes at 425F [Don't overbake here!]. Then turn the temperature down to 325F and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center of the custard comes out clean. Generally, the shortest baking time consistent with this test gives you the best texture.
Cool at room temperature, then refrigerate. Or eat and enjoy!