Pumpkin Pie Custards with Brulee Topping, Pumpkinfest, and Vegan Mofo

Last week I mentioned on my facebook page that I would make October the month of all things pumpkin.  I had totally forgotten that October was also the start of Vegan Mofo, but inadvertently I had already chosen my theme!  I asked for suggestions on what to call my month of pumpkin recipes, and kind of loved the idea “Pumpkinfest”!  Thanks guys. :)

—–

Before I get to today’s Pumpkinfest recipe, I have an announcement to make.  Last week I made some decisions about my work.  The past few weeks I have been feeling pretty burnt out.  I want to blog 2-3 times a week.  No. Actually, I’d like to blog 4-5 times a week.  In reality, I might squeak out 2 posts a week if I’m on top of life.  And, I’ve been pretty active with social media as well, which while wonderful for what it allows us to do in communicating messages – is also very time consuming.  Lately I am finding it quite hard to do the things I love while also being a mom to three.  I’m a one-mom show here.  Many days I feel my house is falling apart and I’m always rushing to get things done.  As many of my long-term readers know, my husband and I moved out of our home town many years ago, so we don’t have our extended family in the area.  We don’t have much help with the girls – or even a lot of other family presence in their lives (which I think is so important, but not something we are able to change right now).  I thought as our girls got older that I’d have more time in the day, but it’s just not the case.  So, I did some thinking about my work and where to direct my efforts in order to continue on some level with what I love.  I have decided to reduce my time on social media and to some extent, blogging.  I’ll still be here, just not quite so intensely as I’ve been in recent months.  Instead, I plant to redirect my ‘free time’ to my new recipes that are stacking up beside me, and possibly another book project.  With that, I will be discontinuing the plant-powered kids series at this time as well.  The posts take a very long time to produce, and I am trying to be most productive with the time I have and without having any assistance.  Hopefully you understand, and as I committed to Pumpkinfest, I plan to push out as many pumpkincrecible recipes as I can this month (though nowhere close to the Vegan Mofo target of 20 posts – will I get kicked out of Mofo for that?).  If I catch some kind of break that allows me to hire an assistant or otherwise free up more time, I’ll be back with more gusto.

—-

On to the food.

I have been teasing you, my patient readers, with these Pumpkin Pie Custards for two years.  I think that might be vegan foodie cruelty.  In my defense, I did get the recipe out in the spring when Let Them Eat Vegan was published.  But, who’s eating pumpkin then?  (‘fess up if it’s you!)

But, it’s time.  I’m long overdue sharing this most fabulous recipe with you.  This is one of my fave-fave-FAVE recipes!  I make it every year during the holidays and it is a complete show-shopping, crowd-pleasing, please-give-me-the-recipe” recipe.  You can make it without the brulee topping, but it really is quite special with it.

Pumpkin Pie Custard from Let Them Eat Vegan

Pumpkin Pie Custards with Brulee Topping gluten-free, soy-free, oil-free Link to print/share

These custards are magical—creamy, luscious, and like having a mini pumpkin pie (without the crust!) all to yourself! These are on our annual Thanksgiving and Christmas menus, definitely make them for your holiday celebrations — and with the brûlée topping!

2/3 cup pumpkin puree (pure pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling), packed (I use Farmer’s Market Organic brand)

½ cup raw cashews

1 ¼ cups plain unsweetened non-dairy milk (almond or soy preferred, but choices is yours)

½ cup unrefined sugar (ex: coconut sugar)

¼ cup pure maple syrup

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 ¼ tsp agar powder

1 tsp arrowroot powder

1 tsp cinnamon

Few pinches freshly ground nutmeg

Pinch or two allspice

Pinch or two ground cloves

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

¼ tsp sea salt

Few teaspoons unrefined sugar for caramelized topping (optional, see note)

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place 5 or 6 ramekins (This is the size/type I have, they are about 3 1/4″ in diameter, and 2″ deep, holding about 3/4 cup) in an 8 by 11-inch glass baking dish. Bring roughly 3 cups of water to a boil in a kettle.  Meanwhile, in a blender (I use my rambo blender (aka Blendtec), it really is worth investing in for exceptional plant-powered recipes), combine all the ingredients (except the sugar for topping) and puree until very, very smooth. (I use a Blendtec; if you don’t have a high-powered blender, you will need to blend for a longer time, and scrape down the sides of the bowl a couple of times.)  Pour the boiled water into the baking dish to surround the ramekins (but don’t get any water in the ramekins). Then pour the pureed pumpkin mixture evenly into each ramekin. If using six ramekins (mine are 3 inches in diameter—from the inside—and almost 2 inches deep), they will be about two-thirds full; if using five, they will be just about completely full. Carefully place the baking dish into the oven. Bake for 32 to 34 minutes, until the custards are set around the edges but a touch looser in the center.  Carefully remove the baking dish from the oven and let cool slightly until you can safely remove and transfer each custard to a cooling rack. Let cool a little more. The custards are best still a little warm, but can also be served chilled.

Make It More-ish! Turn these custards into Pumpkin Brûlée! Sprinkle 1⁄2 to 1 teaspoon of unrefined sugar over the top, and then use either a small butane torch or oven broiler to caramelize it. If using the oven broiler: Set the oven to BROIL, and then place the individual ramekins under the broiler for 3 to 5 minutes. Check after 3 minutes, and then again at the 4-minute mark. If not done, broil for another minute or so. If doing this brûlée finish, do it soon before serving, as the crunchy topping will soften if prepared too long in advance.

With Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend, this dessert would be a perfect addition to your plant-powered menu.  I’ll have a few more ideas this week, stay tuned.

Have you ever had a pumpkin custard?  If you are in Canada, what is your plant-powered Thanksgiving menu?

48 Responses to Pumpkin Pie Custards with Brulee Topping, Pumpkinfest, and Vegan Mofo

  1. hannah says:

    Oh these look so lovely! I’m sooo glad I found your site (was sent here by my friend Emma from coconutandberries with HIGH recommendations!) Do these keep a few days in the fridge?

    • Dreena says:

      Hi Hannah, welcome to my kitchen! :D I have baked these and then kept in the fridge for about 4 days. You can gently reheat and also do the brulee later too. Send my thanks back to Emma, she is a darling!

      • hannah says:

        FINALLY getting round to making these! (disorganised and busy haha). We don’t really have canned pumpkin over here though, or pie pumpkin at all in fact – would you recommend something creamy like a kabocha or more watery like a butternut or acorn? And when making your own puree do you bake or steam the squash?
        thanks and i cant wait to try these at ling last! :)
        h x

  2. We are a Spanish Animal Sanctuary placed in Madrid and We’ve just shared your recipe! Thanks for sharing it with all of us! You can check it out on our Facebook English Page: https://www.facebook.com/School.Sanctuary.EHL or you can also visit our web site: http://www.elhogardeluci.org (although its not already translated into english, we’re working on it!)THANK YOU! =)

  3. Laurel says:

    I’ve made this recipe twice now, once in a 9″ tart shell with pressed in crumb crust and once in a greased cake pan and no crust. I just cut it into slices and have a quick meal no matter how busy I am. I’m making it again this weekend. ;-) thanks

  4. Alisha S. says:

    Hi, Dreena,
    I made this recipe for pumpkin pie custards with brulee topping this past week for my family’s vegan Thanksgiving celebration. It was a HUGE hit! Everyone loved it, even the 5 who aren’t vegan and my husband’s little brother who is VERY picky. :D Thank you SO much for this fantastic recipe and for the great directions!
    I wasn’t able to find agar agar, so I used low-sugar fruit pectin, substituted 1-for-1 for the agar agar. I think next time I make this (there WILL be a next time – it was that good!) I will use more fruit pectin, as the custard didn’t set with the amount of pectin I used (or I didn’t bake it long enough… I only had 4 ramekins and was making a triple quantity, so I had to use larger Corningware dishes). It was still delicious in spite of being very soft (kind of like a thick pudding). Anyway, I used sucanat sugar in the custard and raw cane sugar for the brulee topping, and used my propane torch to brulee the sugar (I don’t have a brulee torch, and my Corningware dishes are not broiler-safe). The sucanat worked perfectly in this recipe and the propane torch worked just fine for doing the brulee topping.
    Anyway, thank you again SO much for this fantastic recipe! I think one of your books is next on my vegan-cookbook wishlist! I look forward to trying more recipes from your blog in the meantime. :)
    ~Alisha S.

    • Dreena says:

      That’s awesome Alisha!! Thank you so much for the feedback, and sounds like you have some savvy recipe skills being able to modify some things and it still turning out wonderfully. :) You are most welcome, it delights me to read this kind of thing. Happy holidays! :)

  5. Cassandra says:

    Of course, as I’m reading this post, I’m saying to myself, ooh, pumpkin, but what I’m really thinking is NEW DREENA BOOK! I already can’t wait!

  6. Kimberly says:

    Hello,

    I have a child with a tree nut allergy, so I cannot use the cashews in this recipe. What is their function in the recipe and could I use pumpkin or some other seed instead?

    THank you for all your posts. You have made being vegan and proving that vegans actually eat more than salad so much easier!

    • Dreena says:

      Thanks Kimberly. The cashews serve to thicken this custard, and also give some whole-foods fat for flavor/texture. I don’t have a substitute to suggest this time round, I’d have to test something out as I cannot imagine using a seed butter (too bitter), and not sure if another substitute like rolled oats would be able to pull off the overall flavor/texture. I’ll have other pumpkin recipes coming up – a pumpkin chia pudding this week (that is nut-free)!

  7. elaine says:

    This looks SO good! I will definitely have to make some for AM Thanksgiving next month or even perhaps Christmas, hmm, perhaps even both! Thanks!

  8. Katrina says:

    Hi Dreena, sorry this is such a delayed comment. I too am a busy working mom of two + one on the way and I totally understand! I do have to say that selfishly, I am disappointed that the plant-powered kids series will end. I was SO excited for that and really loved the posts you did do. So far, you are the only vegan mom cookbook author/blogger that I have been able to find. It seems the majority are single or married no kids. I live in Wisconsin (it’s practically sacrilege to not eat dairy or meat in this state) and there is just no support for vegan moms. So I have a suggestion or at least something I hope you might mull over. What about doing a plant-powered kids book? You could do all the aspects that you were planning to write about, add in a number of kid-friendly recipes, and voila! Best of both worlds! Well, anyway, a girl can dream! Thanks for everything you do! I really do appreciate it all!!! Xoxo

  9. Hey beautiful–I’m a little late in the game here, but I just wanted to say I COMPLETELY understand. Being a mom is the most time consuming (& rewarding) job on earth. I’m finding that as my children get older, like you, that there is actually less “extra” time than I thought there would be.

    I love you, dear girl, & respect your decision to do what you know is best for you & your fam. Your work will go on, & really, just remember that some of the best blog’s out there only post a few times a month! I’ve chosen to blog daily, but I couldn’t blog daily if it were all recipes–I understand the time & work involved & we’re all just grateful for what you do. You are rock, lady! ox Janae

  10. Eve L. says:

    Hi Dreena, You have always amazed me with how much time you’ve devoted to communicating with us all, and I’ve loved it since you’re such a neat person and I feel like we’re friends even though we haven’t met. But I absolutely can see why you need to cut back and I support that. You are a very prolific person and generate so much material, all of which is very precious to us all. But whether it’s once a week or 4 times a week, we are just grateful to have anything you give us, so THANK YOU for everything you do, and please take care of yourself! Hugs and gratitude from San Francisco. :)

    • Dreena says:

      Eve, you are very kind to leave me this note. I value your sentiment and am grateful for this kind of support in the community and with my readers. Thank you so much, hugs in return. :) xo

  11. Kayleigh says:

    I think I know what i’m making this weekend! These look so good!
    Kayleigh X

  12. Darcie Clark says:

    Hi Dreena,

    I have your book “Let Them Eat Vegan” and love the recipes. I was wondering whether I could make the Pumpkin Pie custard as a pie filling instead? Do you think it would turn out okay as a pie?

    Thanks very much!

    • Dreena says:

      Hi Darcie, yes I think you could. I haven’t tested it myself, but you might just need to bake a little longer (possibly close to 40 minutes) and, I’d also suggest making the measure for the cashews a little on the generous side of 1/2 cup – just to give that extra bit of body to the pie. It will look slightly loose after baking (the custards do too), but it does firm up with cooling. Good luck – would love to know if you go ahead with it and how it works!

  13. ameyfm says:

    holy moly Dreena, this dessert looks totally amazing. Your sweetie recipes are always my favorites. I made about 6 of your different cookie recipes at our wedding!! Also, I totally get it about the blogging and such. You gotta live your life! I usually only blog 1-2 times a week, except for mofo… which is a fun little project for me once a year. But I fully support you in doing other things – especially if it involves trying out new recipes! :)

  14. Oh Dreena, I know so many of us understand! We need more hours in the day, don’t we? Speaking from the point of someone who went back to work after not intending to, I feel pulled in a million directions as do you. I commend you for reevaluating your priorities and taking a step back. Bravo! I did the same thing. I will finish my work at my boy’s school the end of this month and can’t wait! I love helping them out, but don’t have enough time for my family…sounds similar to what you are saying.

    Now, about the recipe…I am one of those who mostly only makes pumpkin recipes in the fall/winter time (bad me!!). I just made the pumpkin oat muffins this week to celebrate my middle son’s birthday at school. They were delicious! And pleased him, my most picky of eaters!!! Pumpkin pie is next on the agenda because that is my oldest’s favorite. Next I think it’s Mom’s turn to choose, and I’m choosing the brulee! :)

    You are the real deal, the try-to-do-it-all Mom who I aspire to be. I’m so happy for you to take this step back. And just in time for hockey season! I don’t know, my son plays soccer and we’ve attended more games in the pouring rain that I’d like this year and hockey is looking pretty good right about now. Rain is in the forecast again for Saturday! :(

    xo

  15. Ruth says:

    No apologies necessary, Dreena! Family First!!

    Thanks for this very timely recipe; it will be perfect for Thanksgiving this Sunday!

  16. Rebecca Stucki says:

    Yes, Dreena – please back away and do whatever you need to do for yourself! You’ve given us all so much already. I agree with Jane above who says she doesn’t even have time to read all your blogs thoroughly – neither do I (but maybe that’s because I’m busy trying to make all your recipes! :-)) I love it that I feel as if we know each other, even if we don’t “in real life” – you always make such an effort to respond to everyone. Hey, you don’t have to answer this one!! Much love!

  17. Jane says:

    I’m with many of the posts above – keep writing the books and I will love your posts however often they come out! If I’m honest, I’m often too busy to read them properly, let alone try out the recipes so less is more as far as I’m concerned! Good luck and good feasting!
    ps my daughter has requested the triple layer choc cake for her birthday cake (not til november but she likes to think ahead !!!

  18. Becky says:

    Thank you for this gorgeous recipe! Quick question- is the broiling time of up to 5 minutes in addition to the 32-34 minute cook time? Or, if you are choosing to broil, would you do it during the last 5 minutes of the 32-34 minute cook time? Thanks for the clarification! I can’t wait to try these!!

    • Dreena says:

      Yes, Becky, in addition to the baking time. I give a range, b/c you may have them filled less/more. I usually find the 32 min mark just right. Then, broil until caramelized – or use a little torch… but do it just before serving or the topping softens up again with the moisture in the custards. Enjoy!

  19. Heather says:

    Dreena, I understand the time suck of social media and some days I long for that old dial up connection. That and one computer for the whole family meant my days had a totally different rhythm. I am so glad to have found your cookbooks and whatever path you choose for the future, I’ll be following. :)

    • Dreena says:

      Very kind, thank you Heather. Yes, haha, the good ol’ dial-up days… when it would take FOREVER to load a webpage, right? ;) But, then, it was very simple to blog then too – I get an e-mail every week about a new social media platform… I read them and think “I don’t want another to learn/keep on top of”. It’s crazy! Thanks again.

  20. Lisa Tomlinson says:

    Dreena I just want to say that while I don’t know you personally, only from your blogs, facebook & recipe books I think you are such a role model mom! And whatever is best for your family is best for all your fans/followers. You continue to show me how food is so important to our health, but so is taking the time to spend with and take of our families.

    Thank you for being so inpiring & such a good role model.

    • Dreena says:

      That means a lot to know other mothers understand and respect/value the decision to pull back. Thank you Lisa. It’s hard for me because I love my work so much, I enjoy creating SO much, and get truly thrilled with a new successful recipe that I want to share it straight away! There is just so much time involved in getting it all together, so I’ll do what I can, a little less for now, not to burn out!

  21. Robin says:

    Hello Dreena!!! I too haven’t been online much for many of the same reasons. My offer for you to come visit in me Florida is still always open. My problem for this recipe is my eight yr olds allergy to all nuts except almonds and macadamia nut. Is there a way to possible use a combination of those instead of the cashews? Coper loves pumpkin and would love to make this for him. As for kids you are right about this time thing……you blink and they go from stroller to 1st grade. I am happy and yet so sad it’s flying by. If you haven’t made it with the almonds and macadamia….I can always give it a whirl :)

    • Dreena says:

      Hi Robin, haha, you might just find me on your doorstep when winter hits. ;)

      I haven’t tested it with almonds or mac nuts, but I think either could work. I think the mac nuts will be creamier/smoother than almonds, but I might actually try a combo of both – just roughly half and half… def give it a try!

  22. jody says:

    1. i can NOT wait to make the pumpkin pie custards! i may even make them for thanksgiving (we’re hosting)!
    2. you need to do what’s best for you and your family! technology has always been touted as “making our lives easier” but that’s not always the case! the people who love you (whether they know you well or simply via your blog) will understand and appreciate what you give them (recipes, advice, etc).
    3. might your plant-powered kids series be the idea/start of a book? not to add more work to your plate, but i’d buy it! :)

    • Dreena says:

      Thanks so much Jody – I hope you love them (and your guests). :) Yes, indeed, all of our new apps and technology has certainly complicated aspects of blogging – easier to network but so much more to keep on top of and very time consuming to have a presence. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on that.

      You know, I had thoughts (and some initial plans) to do a children’s book. But, then I heard news that both Alicia Silverstone and Mayim Bialik are doing vegan parenting/cookbooks. It is pointless to go up against the celebs, my hard work will just get overlooked – unfortunately. But, thanks for the support.

      • jody says:

        hmmmm….really? both alicia silverstone AND mayim bialik? i have to say, i’d buy yours over theirs in a flash, partly because i love your writing style and partly because you’re NOT a celeb. but i do understand your reluctance at this time! perhaps once theirs come out, you’ll find there’s a gap you can fill….at a future date!

  23. Rebecca says:

    Dreena, glad you are doing what’s best for you and your family. Social networking seems like a bottomless vortex — always more to do, to post, to contribute, etc. And then there’s always that big black hole of “people who are twits and who I’d like to ignore but I feel compelled to address so other readers aren’t mislead”.

    My New Year’s resolution for 2012 was “less blog, more ukulele”. Not that I’ve been ukulele-ing, but I’ve enjoyed feeling less obligated wwith respect to blogging. Refreshing! And better for the family, too. :) You’ve contributed greatly to our lives via your fab books — and although I follow your FB posts with great interests, less frequency won’t change my appreciation for your wonderful work.

    • Dreena says:

      Yes, Rebecca this part of social media, responding to “people who are twits and who I’d like to ignore but I feel compelled to address so other readers aren’t mislead”… that becomes so consuming at times – and even stressful. I feel the way you do, that I’d like to fully ignore them, but I wonder if other people reading their misinformed comments will be swayed away from healthy vegan eating, etc.

      LOL, that is the most unique new year’s resolution ever!! Thank you for that perspective, and for understanding – I appreciate your feedback.

  24. Marsha says:

    Oh my! These look so divine! I will, for sure, be making these for Thanksgiving this year! Yum!!

    • Dreena says:

      Terrific – they are really a fab addition to a Thanksgiving meal, Marsha – I think you’ll enjoy them a lot. :)

  25. Jes says:

    Those pumpkin custards are gorgeous! Love the crackly sugar crust on top!

  26. Those are gorgeous pumpkin custards. I like pumpkin year round, but don’t really feel the strong desire to eat it until fall arrives.
    I will be sorry to see less of you here and on Twitter, but you have to do what is right for your family (and your sanity)…plus if it means another book then I am stoked!

    As a side note, I gave away a copy of LTEV as part of a Vegan Food Swap. The girl who I sent it to had several food restrictions and I thought your sensitivity in recipes to nut and gluten allergies would be perfect. She sent a message the other day saying how excited she was to receive your book and that she couldn’t wait to try some of the recipes out.

    Keep up the good work Dreena and I will be excited to read your posts no matter how many, or few, you have the chance to write.

    • Dreena says:

      Well, thanks so much for your sincerity Rachel. And, what a great story sharing LTEV at a food swap! Hopefully she’ll give some recipes a whirl and jump on the vegan bandwagaon. :)

Add Comment Register



Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge

Related Interest

Vegan Cuts

Wildside Jar for green smoothies, thick and nut-based sauces and dessert purees. I use mine 1-2x/day.

Twister Jar is the BEST for healthy, homemade salad dressings and sauces


Top Food Blogs