pumpkin custards with cardamom crumble


My brainstorming ideas for what kinds of recipes to post for Thanksgiving have been all over the darn place. I thought about trying to re-create the first Thanksgiving feast, but then I read the meal predominantly consisted of seafood and vegetables, and that there was no green bean casserole, or any kind of potatoes, or butter (no butter! I can’t even!). I mean, can you imagine Thanksgiving without all the carbs? I don’t think it counts as Thanksgiving if you don’t go into a full-on post-meal sleep-induced food coma.

Then I thought, what about Thanksgiving foods from eras, like the 60s, 70s, or 80s, but that’s when I discovered lots, and I mean lots, of Jello and aspic. Don’t get me wrong, I get Jello deserts, but aspic? Think savory gelatin with chunks of meat, egg, or seafood. I’ve never tasted it, but if my stomach’s reaction to the description is any indication, I am good. Certain foods, especially ones that aren’t sweet, just shouldn’t jiggle. Maybe I should look into joining a non-jiggly food therapy group, but I digress…


Anyhoo, this year, I thought I’d keep it simple by making a bunch of unique pumpkin-based desserts (much to Justin’s delight!). There’s nothing wrong with classic pumpkin pie, but why not change it up this year like trying these cute little pumpkin custards with cardamom crumble?  While these still taste like pumpkin pie, the custard is denser and creamier than normal pumpkin pie. The cardamom adds an almost gingerbread-like flavor to the crunchy crumble. To say these are good is an understatement. I made eight of these like the recipe calls for thinking I’d take some to work… and Justin and I unapologetically ate them all instead. And after we finished the custards, we licked the ramekins, the spoons, and then the ramekins again just to be sure there was nothing left.

This recipe does require a roasting pan, and trust me when I say a regular baking pan does not work. This is because you have to have boiling water half way up the ramekins to properly bake the custard. I think it’s easier to add the boiling water to the roasting pan once the pan is set on the oven rack, but you must pull it out enough so you can pour the water into the pan. Be very careful when adding the boiling water as it can splatter and being that close to the hot oven is a worry as well. I wore oven mitts and still got splattered, so please heed my oops! Lastly, and just as important, is that this recipe has to set a couple hours so please plan accordingly. Bon Appetit!



Serves: 8 custards (or in our case 2 people…)

Prep: 25 minutes

Bake: 40 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit

Cool: 1 hour

Chill: 2 hours

Special equipment:

Roasting pan

Custard Ingredients:

3 eggs, lightly beaten

1 15 oz. can pumpkin (1 3/4 cups)

1 1/2 cups heavy cream or half-and-half

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon salt

Crumble Topping Ingredients:

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted


Preheat oven to the 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil or enough water to fill your roasting pan halfway up your ramekins.

In a large bowl combine first eight (all of the custard) ingredients, and mix thoroughly.

Place eight 6-ounce ramekin dishes in a roasting pan. Divide the pumpkin mixture evenly among the ramekins. Place the roasting pan on the oven rack and pull it out far enough to access. Carefully pour the boiling water into the roasting pan to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 25 minutes.

While the custard is baking, you can make the crumble. Starting in a small bowl, stir together flour, 1/4 cup brown sugar, and cardamom. Using a pastry blender or fork, cut in the butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in the pecans.

Once the 25 minutes has completed, pull the custards out of the oven; and sprinkle the crumble mixture over the custards. Put the custards back in the oven and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until you can stick a knife into the custard and it comes out clean.

Remove custard ramekins from the water (use oven mitts). Cool on wire racks for 1 hour, then cover loosely and chill for 2 to 24 hours before serving.


Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens: 100 Best Pumpkin Recipes.

2 thoughts on “pumpkin custards with cardamom crumble”

  1. I have never liked pumpkin pie but this recipe sounds yummy because I like how you described the texture and adding the crunches.


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