before college, i wasn’t much of a pudding person. perhaps it’s because my mom isn’t into them (so we didn’t have them around) or because whenever i did have pudding it would be paired with mushy, oxidized bananas.
but when i got to college, the dessert table was filled with cupcakes, cookies and pudding. the cupcakes could be good (there was an amazing poppy seed one with a very light whipped cream and strawberry frosting) but they could also be the stereotypical chocolate cupcakes you get at the grocery store with the dry, not very chocolate-y cake and the hard, cloying vanilla icing. when they had those types of cupcakes and/or yet another overbaked cookie, i reached for a pudding parfait. i was partial to the chocolate/peanut butter one, with an albeit dry chocolate cake stacked with creamy peanut butter pudding and whipped cream, and the pumpkin one, with pumpkin pudding, spiced graham cracker crumbs and a dollop of whipped cream.
these deconstructed pumpkin pie puddings sounded like the last parfait i described, and i couldn’t help but bookmark it in a fit of nostalgia.
deb perelman (of smitten kitchen fame) details two methods for making the puddings: one where you whip everything together, and another where you blend the pumpkin and seasonings, cook that down, and then stir in the animal products.
i chose the first, and despite her warnings that the more intensive method pays off with an even more silky pudding, the lazy method still bakes up into something rich and smooth.
plain, it's tasty, and there's the tang from the sour cream to balance out the decadence of the pudding. the graham crackers are crucial here, since there's otherwise no different texture to break up the expanse of squash and cream. gingersnaps could work too, but it depends on how spice-y you like your dessert.
of course you're still in the mood for other pumpkin goodies, so how about waffles topped with spiced pumpkin butter or a pumpkin galette with apples and almonds?
- 1 ¾ cups pumpkin puree
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 cup whole milk
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 2 large eggs lightly beaten
- gingersnaps or graham crackers for serving
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
In a medium bowl, whisk all of the pudding ingredients.
Divide between seven to eight ovenproof 6-ounce ramekins on a baking sheet. Bake at 350F for 35 to 40 minutes, until puddings barely jiggle and a knife comes out clean. Cool completely.
Combine the topping ingredients in a small bowl, then spread 2 tablespoons topping onto each pudding. Chill until ready to serve. Serve with gingersnaps or graham crackers.
From Smitten Kitchen.
You can use ramekins of a different size, but be prepared to change the baking time.
You can bake the sour cream topping for a few minutes, but I think it's creamier and tastier when left unbaked.
David @ Spiced says
This sounds like my kind of dessert, Heather! I love all of the spices in there. Like you, I'm not a huge fan of cupcakes. I mean I'll eat 'em if they are there, and I'll probably enjoy 'em. But I prefer other desserts first. And by other desserts, I mean this pumpkin pudding. With gingersnaps for me, please. 🙂 Looks amazing, my friend!
thanks david! crunchy, crispy gingersnaps balance the creamy pudding so well (:
What a great idea! I'll definitely have to give this a try - I'm sure there's a genius way of making these vegan & gluten free too 🙂
thanks!! if you omit or use gluten-free graham crackers or gingersnaps, then it's gf. easy peasy (: the vegan part would be harder, but you could sub in coconut cream for the dairy in the pudding, maybe use flax egg to mimic a chicken egg (not sure about this part though since i've never done a flax egg myself), and use almond/some other vegan sour cream sub. would be interesting to try!