Friday, November 29, 2013

Rich & Creamy Pumpkin Custard Cups

I wanted to share the recipe I made for my Thanksgiving dessert last night -- Rich & Creamy Pumpkin Custard Cups -- totally and absolutely decadent. I started out with the intention of making my individual regular crustless pumpkin pies (in ramekins)...but wondered what it would be like if I modified it and made it sort of "cheesecakish". It turned out fabulous...and even better than I had hoped. If you haven't already had your fill of pumpkin this fall...this is definitely worth trying! Think of it as "more than a pie"...but "not quite a cheesecake". 

For the topping, I had planned to use toasted pecans to sprinkle on top for a little crunch and toasty-nutty flavor (right before serving)...but instead, I decided to put it over the top a bit. I lightly toasted pecans in my oven (at 350 degrees) for about 5-7 minutes, just to bring out their nuttiness and crisp a bit and then coarsely chopped them. I made a Buttered Pecan Topping to sprinkle on top that was SO simple, yet SO good!  Since it is just me eating these (thank God...they are ALL mine)...I put the topping together right before serving so it's nice and hot and buttery. I take about 3 tablespoons or so of toasted pecans and melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a tiny skillet, add the pecans, a couple dashes of cinnamon and about 2 to 3 teaspoons of granular Swerve and stir it in until it melts together. I top my little Rich & Creamy Pumpkin Custard Cups with the hot, lightly sweetened, buttered spiced pecan topping right before eating...pure heaven! Below is the recipe as well as a few photos -- I assure you, you will never miss the pie crust in these little delights. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Custard Cups - Rich & Creamy 


4 ounces brick style cream cheese, softened

1 15-ounce can 100% pure pumpkin puree
3/4 cup Swerve Sweetener Confectioner's Style (or powdered erythritol equivalent to 3/4 cup sugar)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon natural maple extract
2 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
Toppings (whipped cream, toasted chopped pecans), optional 


Preheat oven temperature to 375 degrees F.  Lightly grease six to eight 6-ounce ramekins with coconut oil or butter and set aside. 

In a medium mixing bowl, beat softened cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth; add pumpkin and sweetener and beat until blended, about 1 minute. Add salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, maple extract, eggs and cream; beat until well blended and smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Divide and pour filling into lightly greased ramekins (leave at least 1/4-inch at the top to allow for rising). Place ramekins on a baking sheet.

Place baking sheet with ramekins in 375 degree oven and immediately reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees; bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes; reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake at 325 degrees an additional 30 to 35 minutes, or until knife tip or toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool approximately 2 hours; serve at room temperature after 2 hours or refrigerate. Top with whipped cream or toasted chopped pecans, if desired.

*Note: Canned coconut milk can be substituted for the cream


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CyberSis said...


This looks super! I, for one, certainly have *not* had my fill of pumpkin! I doubt that will *ever* happen! :-) Next time, I'm definitely going to try it this way. For now, I think I'll make some of the hot pecan topping to have with the rest of our left-over pumpkin pie ramekins! Just when you think it couldn't possibly get any better ... :-)

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi CyberSis -- Hope you like the hot pecan topping as much as I do! I really love pumpkin, too! :-)

Anonymous said...

Could this be made with raw honey or maple syrup instead of the sweetener? I don't like things really sweet anyway.

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Anonymous -- yes, if those are sweeteners you already use, they should work. I don't know if you would want to put the full measurement (3/4 cup) though -- since those are liquid, it may change the consistency a bit. :-)

Tessa said...

Looks like another recipe I’ll have to try! One thing though – as I’ve been making all these recipes with Swerve, I’m looking for other people’s input. I’m getting to where I’m tempted to just use regular sugar – and that’s a big deal as I have been a sugar-phobe for about 8 years now. But the cooling effect with Swerve is ruining so many recipes for our family. We used to always use Zsweet and there’s no cooling effect with that, but the results when baking were less than stellar. Baking results with Swerve are great, but the cooling effect often ruins the eating enjoyment. I find that it’s worse with the powdered version. Does anyone else have this problem? I see you making all these recipes on here and just wonder why no one else seems bothered by this. Thanks for any feedback.

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Tessa -- we will see if anyone else chimes in. I do believe from what I have read that the cooling effect is more noticeable for some than others. I wonder if you scaled it back by half and added some stevia (if you use that) if that might help? Maybe it's just not for you. So far, for me personally, it works the best both in results and taste. I have Zsweet on my pantry shelf that isn't used because I didn't care for the wasn't horrible, it just wasn't good to me. Have you ever used xylitol? Some like that but it is deadly to pets if they accidentally ingest it and can cause tummy troubles for some folks. Hope someone else might be able to give you a better suggestion than using sugar. :-)

CyberSis said...


How people experience the "flavor sensations" of sweeteners seems to be very individualized. Tessa has "flavor" problems with Swerve but not with Zsweet, even though the main ingredient in both is erythritol. On the other hand, I have no problem with Zero (100% erythritol) or Swerve, but can't use Truvia because of the negative "flavor sensations" she describes. For me it's because of the granular stevia content of Truvia ... but Tessa has no problem with Zsweet, which contains stevia! (Swerve doesn't.) Go figure!

Oh boy, this comment looks *very* confusing, which just highlights the complexity of the whole "flavor" issue.

Since Tessa seems to get along with stevia, she might experiment as you suggested ... cutting the Swerve back and adding in a bit of stevia. I have no idea how this would effect Swerve's baking properties, though, since the "bulkiness" of the batter or dough would be reduced, as well. It might work fine for some recipes but not for others.

BTW, I can use the liquid form of stevia that contains glycerine (unless I inadvertently add too much.) Like I said, "go figure!"

As I've read, mixing different sweeteners together until you find a combination that works can be the key ... and can be very tricky. I would hate to see anyone go back to using sugar, though. According to Dr. D., and Dr. P. ("Grain Brain") and others, the fructose part of sugar, especially, inflicts all sorts of havoc!

I've not wanted to try xylitol because I've had "tummy" issues with other sugar alcohols, a pretty common complaint about them. I decided to try erythritol only because the comments I saw about it were so overwhelmingly positive. This one works for me. To me the flavor is very "clean" ... no funny taste or sensation and no tummy trouble!

Good luck to Tessa. I hope she finds something that works! :-)

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi CyberSis! What you realize is that it really does seem to be such an individual thing with alternative sweeteners. So far, for me Swerve is my preferred sweetener for baking. My preferred stevia has always been NuNaturals -- but I recently received 2 more bottles of the liquid I always buy and thought they might be a bad batch...long story short, they have changed their supplier and formula and it isn't the same as it use to be. I have contacted them and they are working on their formula again...and have assured me it will be good again. I have a few samples of their new stuff I am trying. Someone else recommended KAL stevia -- but I found out that KAL has just changed their formula too and theirs is from I am saying "thanks but no thanks" to KAL's stevia from China -- don't even want to try that! I am hanging in there to see how NuNaturals recoups from their supplier issues and keeping my fingers crossed. In my opinion, theirs was always the best of the stevias -- I am cherishing my NuNaturals pure stevia powdered extract in their original formula -- I will keep you posted! :-)

CyberSis said...


Isn't that just like "them," whoever "they" are? It seems that whenever you find something you like, they come along and change it ... and not usually for the better, either! That seems to be the way things go nowadays, with just about everything (clothing, appliances, whatever.) Well, as the saying goes, "nothing's forever!"

I was just going to tell you all about my KAL "Pure Stevia" (with glycerin.) Then I got to the part of your comment that said it's now being made in China! I looked on my label and there's no country of manufacture listed ... not USA, not China, not nothing! I purchased it about a year ago, so perhaps it's OK. For what it's worth, it's a nice liquid stevia, but I'll be looking for another source. [Back to Square 1.]

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi CyberSis -- I'm sure your stevia is still good then -- looks like the KAL changed sometime in the last few months -- if you start reading reviews (recent ones) will see where people began complaining about it and where they say it states "from China" you should be good! If you could find a place that still had the older stuff in stock you might get lucky! shows were REALLY need to be reading labels for a lot more than ingredients...the "geography" on the label is just as important! :-)

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi CyberSis -- here is a few recent reviews of KAL -- so it is important when we read items with positive reviews to read the most recent ones -- because the older great reviews still predominate and raise the "average" score.

CyberSis said...


Thanks for the link ... very interesting reading, indeed. I always read the negative reviews first, anyway. (Of course, you never really know about those, either ... some could be "plants" by the competition.) Good point you make about paying attention to the more recent reviews.

These reviews were for the powder type. The ones I read earlier were for the liquid. It's funny that there were no mentions of China in those reviews. In the powder reviews some people were making the distinction that the raw materials (the actual stevia leaves) may come from China ... therefore the label would say "Product of China." However, it could still be made in the USA, in which case the label would say "Manufactured in USA." It was not clear to me from the comments where it really IS manufactured ... there seem to be different opinions on that. The company does not address this issue at all on their web site.

Anyway, I only use a bit of liquid stevia once in a while. I've been using Swerve for almost everything. It works great and we know where it's made ... good old NOLA ... and that suits me just fine, Dawlin'! :-)

Unknown said...

Hi GGC, could this be made in a glass pie pan as a crust-less pie? Thanks!

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Jan -- Yes, that should work just fine. Lightly oil or grease the dish to make it come out nicely when you cut it -- I think it would turn out great! :-)