I dreamed of clawing my way back into the Land of Kale through my efforts this Vegan MoFo. I fantasized about a long line of beautifully composed, perfectly styled foods that would make me forget that animal products existed. Other on-the-fence omnis would flock to my blog and drool over my fantastic creations, and renounce bacon and cheddar sandwiches forevermore. Then Saveur and Bon Appetite would both approach me with food stylist/vegetarian recipe developer jobs, and I would sit back let them get into an obscene bidding war over my services. When they finally each delivered a truly astronomical sum, I would turn them down to instead launch my own vegetarian magazine, which would segue into an entertaining but educational cooking show aimed at busy veggie parents, and end with myself achieving Martha Stewart style world domination. Only with more broccoli.
Well, that's not gonna happen. True, it was never going to happen, but it's especially improbably now that I've released such a breathtaking array of ugly food.
This is a recipe I adapted from Dreena Burton, so it really couldn't lose, could it? I started fiddling with this last Thanksgiving. I needed a dessert for the big family dinner, but it had to be one that was high in fiber, low in refined sugar, and easy on the empty carbohydrates (at the time I was pregnant and suffering from what my Aunt Wren calls "the diabeetus"). These individual chocolate pumpkin custards were the result.
Pretty they are not. No matter how I tried to dress these babies up, they still look like crackly dried mud in a cup. But they aren't. No, not at all! That almost-cakey surface gives way to a smooth, creamy-firm middle that caresses your mouth with chocolate-pumpkin goodness. The pumpkin in these isn't overwhelming; when I blogged about them last year I referred to it as being "like a little fall friend who stands in the background and says hello when the chocolate is done talking to you." And I still stand by that assertion.
This year I have a recipe to go along with the mediocre pictures. I have it posted over at Food.com, complete with nutrition information and easy printing format. Follow the link HERE. If you're in any way intrigued, go ahead and give it a try. I'm pretty sure you'll be happy with the results.
Adapted from Dreena Burton's Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan
Makes 3 servings (1/2 cup each)Ingredients:
1/2cup dark chocolate, chopped (70% cocoa or higher, dairy free)
7 ounces pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon maple syrup (optional, but good) or 1 tablespoon agave syrup (optional, but good)
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- Preheat the oven to 325°F.
- Melt the chocolate. You can either use a double boiler, or go lazy style and use a quart sized bowl in the microwave. If you microwave it, use 50% power and stir it after every 30 to 45 seconds. It took me about three minutes to do it that way. Cool it for about two minutes after you're done.
- Mix the chocolate with the rest of the ingredients.
- Bake in the 325F oven in a bain marie. What is a bain marie? It's easy. Heat some water to boiling (microwave it or use an electric kettle). Set the ramekins in an oven safe pan. Put the pan in the preheated oven. Fill the pan with the hot water until it comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Carefully close the oven. Bake everything until the custards are set in the center - it took about 25 minutes for me.
- Remove the ramekins (carefully!) from the water bath and then let them cool to room temperature on a rack. You can enjoy them that way, or chill them for a couple of hours and eat them straight from the fridge. There's no wrong way. But if you're going to have them later, refrigerate them for sure. They keep for about three days, possibly more, but mine have never lasted that long.