Dean Fearing and Jill Bates, the pastry chef at Fearing's, collaborated on this spiced pumpkin pudding covered with meringue swirls. "It's what all Southerners love about their pies, whether they're coconut, chocolate or banana—the meringue," Fearing says.
Chef Holiday Recipes Made EasyMore Puddings
2 1/2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons water
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
One 15-ounce can unsweetened pumpkin puree
8 large eggs, 6 separated
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Pinch of freshly ground pepper
1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 350°. In a medium saucepan, mix 1 cup of the sugar with the water. Using a wet pastry brush, wash down the pan's side to remove any sugar. Cook over moderately high heat until an amber caramel forms, about 8 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the cream and milk. Cover over moderate heat, stirring, until the caramel is smooth, about 1 minute.
In a medium bowl, whisk the pumpkin puree with the 6 egg yolks and 2 whole eggs. Add the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, pepper and a pinch of salt. Gradually whisk in the hot caramel cream.
Pour the pudding into twelve 1/8-cup ramekins set in a roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover the pan with foil and cut 4 small slits in the top. Bake the puddings for about 40 minutes, or until the centers are just set. Remove the puddings from the water bath. Let cool on a wire rack then refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 11/2 hours.
Preheat the broiler. In a large bowl set over a pot of simmering water, whip the 6 egg whites with the remaining 1 1/2 cups of sugar, the vanilla seeds and a pinch of salt. Whip until the sugar has dissolved, 3 minutes. Remove the bowl from the water bath. Beat the whites until stiff, glossy peaks form, 6 minutes. Spread the meringue in swirls over the pudding. Broil 4 inches from the heat for 2 minutes, until golden, and serve.
The pudding can be refrigerated for 1 day. It can be topped with the meringue and broiled 2 hours before serving. Let stand at room temperature.
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