This week was all about two things: quick snacks and comforting food. I still have a box of hazelnuts from the fall and, unfortunately, three bags of frozen pumpkin puree leftover from the holidays. This is often my problem with stocking up so efficiently on fall produce – by January, I’m ready for asparagus, arugula, and peas. But those are months away still, and there’s a ready supply of pumpkin in the freezer.
In some ways, I still feel this is a recipe better suited for November. On the other hand, on a rainy day, there was something very comforting about a pumpkin spice pudding with lovely caramelized hazelnuts on top.
Pumpkin Pudding with Candied Hazelnuts
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup hazelnuts
Combine all ingredients in a non-stick pan. On medium heat, stir and keep stirring for 7 to 10 minutes. Don’t be alarmed if the sugar and butter starts to look a bit pasty – it’s ok. The hazelnuts will get dark and look caramelized. Take them off the heat and let them cool. (I left them in the non-stick pan to cool and didn’t have too much trouble getting them out. The pan definitely needed to soak for a night to get the sugar off, but all and all, these weren’t nearly as messy to make as I thought they might be.)
3 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 ¾ cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
½ cup pumpkin puree
Combine the maple syrup and cornstarch in a small saucepan. Combine the egg and milk in a small bowl and whisk to break up the egg. Put the saucepan over a burner set at medium heat and slowly add in the milk and egg. Stir with a whisk and continue to stir as the mixture comes to a boil. Cook for a minute, then turn the heat down and cook for another minute. The mixture will thicken noticeably. Stirring is essential to keep out large lumps. Once the mixture is done, take off the heat and stir in the vanilla, pumpkin pie spice and puree. Refrigerate for three or four hours before serving.
Serve with five or six candied hazelnuts.