Why most pumpkin pie doesn't actually taste like pumpkin remains a mystery to us. Before suffering through another cloying slice, try a new twist on the holiday classic. These light custards have serious squash flavor: Pumpkin purée is blended with Greek yogurt and eggs for a smooth, creamy consistency; agave nectar adds just enough sweetness. Traditional spices--cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg--lend familiarity, while a toasted pepita, coconut and ginger topping gives the baked confections unexpected texture and crunch. It makes pie seem downright crusty.
Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
Yield: 6 custards
Cook Time: 35 minutes
¼ cup raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
2 tablespoons unsweetened flaked coconut
1 tablespoon turbinado sugar
¼ teaspoon flaky sea salt
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling)
2 large eggs
1 cup skim milk
⅓ cup nonfat Greek yogurt
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon agave nectar or brown rice syrup
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons cornstarch
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Put the pepitas on a small baking sheet and bake in the oven until toasted and fragrant, 5 to 7 minutes. Put the coconut flakes on a separate baking sheet and place in the oven. Toast until the coconut flakes are golden-brown and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Cool the seeds and coconut flakes completely.
2. Make the custard: In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin purée, eggs, skim milk, yogurt, agave and vanilla extract. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Whisk the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until combined.
3. Add six 4-ounce ramekins to a high-sided baking dish. Divide the custard among the ramekins. Pour enough hot water into the baking dish to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins and place in the oven. Bake until the custards are almost completely set with a slight jiggle in the center, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove the baking dish from the oven and cool the custards in the water bath for 5 minutes, then transfer the ramekins to a wire rack to cool completely, about 1 hour.
4. While the custards cool, make the pepita topping: In a food processor or spice grinder, add 2 tablespoons of the toasted pepitas, the sugar, sea salt and ginger. Pulse for 2 seconds, then add the toasted coconut and pulse for 1 second more. Stir in the remaining toasted pepitas.
5. Top the pumpkin custards with the pepita topping and serve at room temperature or chilled. Calories per Serving: 137; Sodium: 133mg; Total Carbohydrate: 19g; Fiber: 1g; Fat: 5g