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Pumpkin Flan with Praline Pepita Garnish

One 9" round cake pan or 12 individual baking ramekins (a 9" flan will yield 12 16 rich slices)

Ingredients

  • For the caramel
  • 1 ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup water
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  • For the flan
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 4 whole eggs
  • 1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 ½ cup milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbl rum Optional
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  • For praline pepita garnish
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbls unsalted butter
  • ¼ tsp salt (do not add salt if you are using roasted & salted pepita seeds)
  • 1 cup toasted pepita seeds
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

For the caramel

Place water and then sugar in a small sauce pan. With a wet pastry brush, wipe down the sides of the saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the sugar caramelizes to an amber color, about 20 minutes. Immediately remove from the heat and pour into your cake pan or individual baking ramekins. Carefully tilt the pan or ramekin so the bottom is coated with caramel. Let the caramel harden as you prepare the flan custard.

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For the flan

Pre-heat oven to 325°. Whisk the egg yolks and eggs together in a large bowl. Add the sweetened condensed milk and whisk until combined. Add the milk and cream and then the pumpkin puree and spices. Strain through a fine sieve into another bowl. Create a water bath by placing the prepared cake pan or ramekins in a large roasting pan. Pour the flan into the cake pan with the caramel. Add hot water to the roasting pan half way up the side of the cake pan. Carefully place the roasting pan in the oven.

Bake at 325° until the flan is firm and not loose in the center when you jiggle the pan, approximately 60 70 minutes. Remove the roasting pan from the oven and then carefully remove the flan pan from the water bath. Let it sit out to cool for an hour at room temperature.

Cover the pan with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

To remove the flan from the pan, spin the flan pan over a gas or electric burner for about 30 seconds to warm up the caramel. Cover the pan with a large plate with a high rim. Flip the flan over and let the caramel pour over the flan, slowly removing the pan.

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For praline pepita garnish

Pepitas are Mexican pumpkin or similar squash seeds, they can be found roasted and salted or unroasted at Trader Joe's and other specialty stores. To toast raw pepita seeds, bake them in a 350° oven for about 10 minutes. You can use pecans with this recipe for traditional New Orleans style pralines.

In a medium sauce pan combine all of the ingredients except the vanilla extract and pepita seeds. Stir only at the beginning to combine ingredients and then bring to a boil over medium heat, cooking until it is brown and bubbling. If you have a candy thermometer cook until the praline is 240°, about 10 minutes.

Take off the stove and add the vanilla extract and the toasted pepita seeds. Stir to coat the seeds with the praline caramel. Spread the candy between two pieces of parchment paper sprayed with pan spray or two non-stick pastry mats. Use a rolling pin to spread the candy out to a thin layer. Careful, the candy is hot!

Let cool to room temperature before cutting it. You can cut the praline into artistic shards or break it up into smaller pieces by hand. The candy keeps for several days in an air tight container at room temperature. Place parchment paper between layers of the praline so it does not stick together.

To garnish the pumpkin fan you can stick large shards in the top of the flan or top the flan with crumbled pepita praline.

Wine pairing: bubbly or a dessert wine like Santa Barbara Winery's Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc

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