Pumpkin may be in season in the fall, but any time I’ve cooked with pumpkin I used the canned stuff. This is unusual for me—given the option I almost always go with fresh ingredients. But cutting, peeling and cooking a fresh pumpkin is a job—and when you’re pressed for time, as most of us are, going with the canned stuff is a great option. You end up with better consistency, and so long as you’re using a canned pumpkin without any additives, it’s easy to feel like you’re eating it fresh.
Another excellent benefit of canned pumpkin? It’s available year round. And with the unseasonably warm weather we’ve been enjoying (and been baffled by), it seemed entirely appropriate to make Pumpkin Pie Pudding for dessert on Saturday. I was hosting a dinner party and serving an accidentally autumnal menu: pomegranate pork tenderloin, roasted sweet potatoes & apple, and sautéed Tuscan kale. When I considered dessert options, I remembered a favorite I had originally found in Cooking Light a couple years ago.
The recipe yields 4 perfectly creamy (yet cream-free) puddings that have all the flavor of pumpkin pie filling but ultimately a much lighter texture. I like to add a little crunch (and admittedly I missed the pie crust), so I topped each pudding with crumbled gingersnaps. Spoon on a dollop of whipped cream—flavored with nothing more than a touch of vanilla—and you’ve got an aromatic and fancy-looking dessert. It’s also ridiculously simple and surprisingly low in fat.
Needless to say, my dinner guests (the boyfriend, my friend Bujan and his fiancé Anne) weren’t really concerned with any of that stuff. They were too busy eating and smiling.
Pumpkin Pie Pudding
Adapted from Cooking Light (October 2010)
- 15 minutes active time / 2-3 hours inactive time
- 6 tbsp. sugar
- 2 tbsp. cornstarch
- 1 3/4 cup Skim Plus milk (or 1% milk, but do not use regular skim milk)
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup canned pumpkin (unsweetened, 100% pure)
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (or use 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, plus a dash each of ground allspice, clove, nutmeg and ginger)
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup gingersnaps, smashed and crumbled
- Combine 6 tablespoons sugar and 2 tablespoons cornstarch in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Combine milk and egg, stirring well with a whisk. Gradually add milk mixture to sugar mixture, stirring constantly, and bring to a boil. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
- Combine pumpkin, vanilla, spice and salt in a bowl, stirring well. Slowly add pumpkin mixture to milk mixture, whisking constantly. Place pan over low heat, and cook for 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring constantly (do not boil). Divide pudding evenly among 4 dessert bowls and cover surface of pudding with plastic wrap. (Tip: poke holes in wrap before covering surface to let hot air escape). Chill for at least 2 hours.
- Place gingersnap cookies in a zip-top bag, seal, and then smash the cookies into coarse crumbs using a mug or some heavy object you have laying around. Best to place the bag on a dish towel so you don’t ruin your counter top when smashing. This is the most fun part of this recipe.
- Just before you are ready to serve, place the cream in a glass or stainless steel bowl and beat on high with a mixer until soft peaks form. Add vanilla and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Top each serving with a sprinkle of cookie crumbs, followed by a dollop of whipped cream, and then a second sprinkling of crumbs. Ta-daa: dessert.
Weight Watchers Points Plus Information:
- Minus the gingersnap crumbs and whipped cream, each serving has a Points Plus value of 4