For the caramel and flan:

2 cups sugar

1-1/2 cups heavy cream

1 cup whole milk

5 whole eggs plus 1 large egg yolk

one 15 ounce can solid pack pumpkin (1-3/4 cups; not pie filling)

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon ground ginger

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon salt


For the spiced pumpkin seeds:

1 cup (hulled) pumpkin seeds (1/4 pound, not toasted)

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

½ teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon cayenne



1. Make the caramel: Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350*. Heat a 2 quart souffle dish or round ceramic casserole dish in oven while making caramel.

2. Cook 1 cup sugar in a dry 2 quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, undisturbed, until it begins to melt. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally with a fork, until sugar melts into a deep golden caramel. Wearing oven mitts, remove hot dish from the oven and immediately pour caramel into dish, tilting it to cover the bottom and sides. (Leave oven on.) Keep tilting as caramel cools and thickens enough to coat, then let harden.

3. Make the flan: Bring cream and milk to a bare simmer in a 2 quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, then remove from heat. Whisk together whole eggs, yolk and remaining cup of sugar in a large bowl until combined well, then whisk in pumpkin, vanilla, spices and salt until combined well. Add hot cream mixture in a slow stream, whisking.

4. Pour custard through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl, scraping with a rubber spatula to force through, and stir to combine well. Pour custard over the caramel in dish, then bake in a water bath (place dish into a baking pan and add hot water to come halfway up the sides of the dish) until flan is golden brown on top and a knife inserted into center comes out clean, about 1-1/4 hours. Remove dish from water bath and transfer to a rack to cool. Chill flan, covered, until cold, at least 6 hours.

5. Make the spiced pumpkin seeds while flan chills: Toast pumpkin seeds in oil in a 10 to 12 inch heavy skillet (preferably cast iron) over moderately low heat, stirring constantly, until puffed and golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Toss with salt and cayenne until coated.

6. To serve, run a thin knife between flan and side of dish to loosen. Shake dish gently from side to side and, when it moves freely in dish, invert in a large platter with a lip over dish. Holding dish and platter securely together, quickly invert and turn out fan onto platter. (Caramel will pour out over and around flan.) Sprinkle flan with spiced pumpkin seeds just before serving.


NOTE: Flan can be chilled 1 day. Spiced pumpkin seeds keep in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 days.


from Gourmet Magazine, November, 2005

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