November 16, 2011

Healthy Maple Pumpkin Custard Cups

Paleo Maple Pumpkin Custard - Photo courtesy of Health-Bent

So I've been Crossfitting for the past 6 or 7 months now.  The most basic way that I can describe Crossfit is a never-ending functional workout program that puts you in the position to push yourself to your physical capacities on a daily basis.  For the duration of this time, I've been paying the people at Crossfit Hoboken to lead me through these weirdly satisfying torture sessions.  As you can imagine, when you hang out with people like this, they talk about healthy things, with diet chief among them.  Well the only diet that these heathens really endorse is called the Paleo Diet (this a Wikipedia link for those of you actually interested in learning more) - which is essentially eating meals made exclusively with naturally occurring ingredients, specifically consumed by our ancestors a couple of million years ago (it is aptly nicknamed the "Caveman Diet").  Find the recipe and more after the jump.

Now I am nowhere close to 100% Paleo, nor do I want to be, but there are some wonderful recipes out there that have been doctored to fit the Paleo requirements, and it doesn't hurt to be a little more healthy now and again.  So, with Halloween just behind us, and Thanksgiving swiftly approaching, I decided to research a healthy desert featuring pumpkin...I'm an absolute sucker for something pumpkin.  That is when I stumbled upon this great recipe from the wonderful couple over at Health-Bent for Maple Pumpkin Custard Cups.  Think of some of the best filling in a pumpkin pie you've ever had, and then imagine that it's not bad for you, and you will have this recipe.  This ended up being a smashing hit with my mother, her sisters, my girlfriend, and even my picky little sister (sorry for the lack of testosterone in the sample, but you gotta work with what you got...or in my case, whoever is willing to eat my food).  The recipe is super easy and requires little to no actual cooking.  Below is my ever so slightly modified version of the recipe for about 6 healthy portions of the custard (before reading the recipe, I believe it should be known, in the interest of full disclosure, that I don't measure anything, ever):

Healthy Maple Pumpkin Custard Cups

-1 regular size can of pureed pumpkin (about 15oz.)
-1 regular size can of coconut milk (about 15oz.)
-1/8 cup of pure maple syrup, but amount is suggestive (not the Aunt Jemima stuff, the real juice straight from the tree's bladder)
-1 tsp. ground cinnamon (the stuff on your spice rack)
-1 tsp. vanilla extract
-1 pouch of unflavored gelatin powder (go to the Jell-O section, and then look on the bottom shelf)
-1/4 cup of lukewarm water

In a small sauce pot, whisk together everything but the gelatin and water, and bring it to just about simmering point (heat it up until you see the first few bubbles popping up).  This is where you can be subjective with the maple syrup, demanding on how much you want the pumpkin flavor to come through and how much you like maple syrup (also, this is the most unhealthy ingredient in the recipe, so that may be a factor for you).  Once you've got the mixture up to the proper heat, remove it from the burner.

While you're waiting for that pumpkiney base to all come together, you can put together your thickening agent with the gelatin and water.  In a small bowl, whisk the gelatin powder into the water, ensuring there are no lumps, and let sit to firm up (a refrigerator will help catalyze the process).

Once the gelatin gets to a semi-solid state, dump it into your sauce pot with the pumpkin and stir thoroughly to make sure that it is fully incorporated.  Pour the mixture into a series of small bowls or ramekins and here is where you have a choice to make.  If you want that skin on the top that creates a contrasting texture, then cover your bowls loosely with plastic cling wrap.  However for a more homogenous texture throughout, take the cling wrap, and press it ALL THE WAY DOWN so it is touching the custard.  Drop it in the fridge for at least 4 hours to set-up, sprinkle with some extra cinnamon right before serving, and dig in!  


  1. " I've been paying the people at Crossfit Hoboken lead me through these weirdly satisfying torture sessions"

    **I think there is a typo, clean this up...

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.