This rich pumpkin pudding unmolds beautifully -- trust us -- and has a thin layer of caramel that cascades down the sides to pool around the base.
Make Ahead: Refrigerate the finished pudding for at least 4 and up to 24 hours.
- 3/4 cup plus 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup water
- 6 large eggs
- 2 cups (you'll need a 29-ounce can; reserve remainder for another use) canned solid-pack pumpkin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Rounded 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- Rounded 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Rounded 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 3 cups heavy cream
- Crystallized ginger, cut into julienne (very thin strips; optional garnish)
Have ready an 8-cup souffle dish or casserole.
Combine 3/4 cup sugar and the water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or tilting the pan to swirl it. Using a damp pastry brush or a damp paper towel, wipe any grains of sugar from the sides of the pan. Boil the syrup just until it's amber-colored, about 10 minutes. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and carefully pour the liquid into the dish. Do not scrape the pan. Tilt the dish in a circular motion until the sides and bottom are evenly coated with caramel. Set aside to harden.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Whisk together the eggs and the remaining 2/3 cup sugar in a large bowl. Add the pumpkin, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and 2 cups of the cream. Whisk until smooth. Pour the mixture into the caramel-lined dish. Place the dish in a roasting pan and add hot water. The depth of the water is crucial to the unmolding of the pudding. The water should reach only one-fourth to one-third of the way up the outside of the dish.
Bake the pudding for about 1 hour 15 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the pudding cool to room temperature. Carefully run a table knife around the edge of the dish to loosen the sides. (This also prevents cracks from forming in the center of the pudding.) Refrigerate the pudding until chilled through, at least 4 hours and preferably overnight.
To serve, just before serving, whip the remaining 1 cup cream until stiff. If you haven't already, run a knife around the edge of the dish to loosen the sides. Cover the dish with a large platter and quickly invert. Tap the bottom of the dish and gently remove the dish. The pudding should come out standing on the plate, surrounded by a light caramel sauce. Using a pastry bag or a spoon, garnish the pudding with rosettes or dollops of whipped cream and, if desired, ginger strips.
From "The Best American Recipes 2001-2002," edited by Fran McCullough (Houghton Mifflin, 2001).
Tested by The Washington Post.
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