So here in America, we have our Road Food and our too ubiquitous drive-through food. But except in major urban centers (and in my own experience, only in New York), we have virtually no Street Food, you know, impermanent push carts and open-air stalls, quick windows and roadside stands where people line up because, well, there's just no not joining a crowd that knows from experience that at the front of the line is cheap, hearty and delicious food worth the line and the wait.
So when the publisher of Street Food by Tom Kime sent a review copy, I found myself moving straight to the front of imaginary lines in places like India and Sri Lanka, southeast Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, southern Europe, even the Middle East and north Africa. Ah! the adventure of it, the surprises found! The book is beautifully constructed, part travelogue (with plenty of stops for sustenance) by country but organized into must-cook-now categories like 'best in a bowl', 'finger food' and 'breads, pizzas and savory pastries'.
And - aha! - it includes so many fascinating vegetable recipes, it's some surprise that yes, today, it's 'dessert first'. But if ever there were a reason to start with dessert and only maybe leaving room for something else? Yummm, it's pumpkin pudding. (And besides, it's Halloween. And besides that, I've been roasting pumpkins again -- for anyone who's interested in this, I've updated my How to Roast a Whole Pumpkin post because I've had both good and bad experiences.) It's a rustic pudding, not smooth and ethereal like a pot de creme or a flan but yes, worth the line and the wait.
NEXT TIME I'll go easy on the cloves, they overpowered the other spices and the pumpkin too.
I can't imagine making this with canned pumpkin. Use roasted butternut squash or roasted pumpkin. Make sure the roasted flesh tastes good before proceeding. Otherwise, sorry, make something else.
I made this in both quarter-cup and half-cup ramekins. To my taste, with a small dollop of whipped cream, the smaller ones were plenty, the larger ones decadent. And if you're a Weight Watcher, skip the cream, go with the small portion -- it's a one-point dessert, a rarity.
The recipe says that one large single pudding can be made, with the cooking time increase to 1 hour, 20 minutes.
The custard is cooked in what is called a 'hot water bath'. Just find an oven-safe dish that can hold all the ramekins or your pudding dish with some room to breathe. I used a 9x13 pan and a pie pan, they fit in the oven side-by-side just fine. You'll fill the ramekins, arrange them in the pan, then fill the outer pan half-way up the sides with boiling water, then put into the oven. The technique helps the custard cook evenly and stay creamy.
TOMORROW! is November 1 and it's finally time to start sharing all the Thanksgiving vegetable recipes I've collected over the last few (butter-heavy, cream-laden, cheese-rich) few weeks. If you're here for Weight Watchers recipes, I promise, each recipe will include nutrition information so at least we can 'know' the damage before biting in. And much to my surprise, with small portion sizes, many of the recipes have fewer calories and points than you might expect. And never fear, after Thanksgiving, it'll be back to normal around here, with plenty of quick 'n' easy vegetable recipes with no points and low carbs. I promise.
~ more pumpkin recipes ~
~ one year ago this week Warm Root Salad with Horseradish Vinaigrette ~
~ two years ago today Pumpkin Pepita Bread ~
Time to table: 90 minutes
Makes 3 1/2 cups of custard (enough for 14 quarter-cup ramekins or 7 half-cup ramekins; easily halved
1 1/2 cups roasted and puréed pumpkin or butternut squash
1 cup half & half (or 1/2 cup whole milk and 1/2 cup cream)
1/2 cup brown sugar (the recipe called for another 2 tablespoons)
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves (too much for my taste, I'd cut in half)
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon table salt
Preheat oven to 350F. Put on water to boil for the hot water bath.
In a medium bowl, gently stir together the pumpkin and half & half.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs and 1/4 cup brown sugar til pale and thick, a couple of minutes. Beat in the remaining sugar, the spices and the salt. Fold the pumpkin mixture into the egg mixture - gently, you don't want to deflate the airiness.
Butter ramekins or a baking dish, then fill with the custard mixture. (The mixture won't expand so you can go as high as you like.) Place into a larger baking dish, fill the outer dish with boiling water just til it reaches halfway up the sides of the filled ramekins. Carefully put into the oven and bake for about 40 minutes (for small ramekins and up to 80 minutes for one large dish. I'd check occasionally, however, with a knife or toothpick inserted into the center, once it comes out clean, the custard is cooked.
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Eat more vegetables! A Veggie Venture is the home of Veggie Evangelist Alanna Kellogg and is the award-winning source of free vegetable recipes, quick, easy, and yes, delicious. Start with the Alphabet of Vegetables or dive into all the Weight Watchers vegetable recipes or all the low carb vegetable recipes. © Copyright 2007