Let's dive into the world of Japanese pumpkin (Kabocha) pudding – that fantastic pumpkin dessert that’s all about blending creamy custard with the sweet, earthy kabocha squash.
The process starts by taking the kabocha, and they either steam it or roast it to get it all tender and bursting with flavor. Once it’s ready, they mash it up until it’s super smooth, creating that lovely pumpkin base. Meanwhile, in another corner of the kitchen, there’s a mix of eggs, sugar, milk, and a dash of vanilla extract or rum coming together to form that creamy custard. When these two come together, it’s like a flavor explosion – kabocha pudding is born, and it’s the perfect harmony of sweet and creamy.
How you serve it is pretty flexible too. Sometimes, they make these adorable individual servings that really show off that vibrant orange color. If you want to take it up a notch, you can drizzle caramel sauce on top or add a dollop of whipped cream for that extra indulgence.
Now, what’s cool about kabocha pudding is that it’s all about the season. It truly shines in the fall when kabocha is at its best, so you’re not just indulging in a delicious dessert; you’re also embracing the flavors of the season.
But here’s the kicker: kabocha is no slouch in the nutrition department. It’s loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber, which means you’re getting a bit of healthy along with your sweet treat.
Kabocha pudding is a fantastic example of how Japanese culinary creativity can turn simple ingredients into something amazing. Whether you’re enjoying it in autumn or any other time of the year, kabocha pudding is a tasty nod to the deliciousness of Japanese cuisine.
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 1hr 20mins
Total time: 1hr 35mins
Total servings: 4
- 250g Kabocha Squash
- 300ml Whole Milk (or your preferred milk)
- 50g White Sugar
- 3 Eggs
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 Cinnamon Stick
- 120g White Sugar (for the caramel sauce)
- 30g Water (for the caramel sauce)
- 60g Boiling Water (for the caramel sauce)
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1) Gathering the Ingredients & Recipe Prep
Gather all of the ingredients together.
Preheat your oven to 325°F (160°C) and lightly grease your ramekins.
Note: We are using 2 14oz ramekins for our recipe, but feel free to use whatever you have.
2) Preparing the Kabocha
Use a spoon to scoop out the pumpkin seeds and cut off the skin.
3) Steaming the Kabocha
Cut the kabocha into bite-sized pieces and then steam them until soft. This should only take a few minutes.
To achieve a smooth texture in the pudding, strain the steamed pumpkin through a strainer or a fine mesh sieve. Then, set it aside.
4) Making the Caramel Sauce
Combine sugar and water in a small pot and bring it to a simmer over high heat. Be sure not to stir it during this process.
Tip: Avoid stirring to prevent sugar from crystallizing, which can cause the caramel sauce to solidify as it cools.
When it changes from a light gold to a richer golden color and you detect a slightly burnt aroma, remove it from the stove and allow the residual heat to complete the cooking process. Gently pour boiling water into the caramel sauce, then reheat it. This step ensures the caramel sauce becomes smooth.
Turn off the heat and pour the caramel sauce into ramekins. Place the ramekins in the refrigerator.
5) Making the Kabocha Pudding
Pour milk into a pot, then add the cinnamon stick. Heat the mixture until it's just about to boil, and then take it off the heat.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the previously pureed kabocha, along with the sugar and vanilla extract. Process the mixture until it's completely smooth and all the ingredients are well incorporated.
Once the mixture is smooth, add the eggs and the milk mixture we prepared earlier.
After preparing the pudding mixture, strain it to remove any unwanted lumps and use a spoon to skim off any foam on the surface.
Tip: If you don't have a food processor, a blender or hand blender will work just as well.
6) Baking the Kabocha Pudding
Remove the ramekins with the caramel sauce from the fridge and carefully pour the pudding mixture over the caramel sauce, using a spoon to avoid creating holes in the caramel layer.
Cover the ramekins with foil and make a small hole to allow steam to escape.
Place the ramekins into a deep pan and fill the pan with hot water (around 130°F, not boiling) until it reaches the same level as the mixture inside the ramekins.
Position them on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 30 to 50 minutes.
To allow the caramel sauce to meld with the pudding, let them chill in the fridge for a few hours, or even better, overnight!
Tip: The baking time may vary depending on your oven and the size of your ramekins, so start checking for doneness around the 30-minute mark to be safe.
7) Serving the Kabocha Pudding
You can dive right into the ramekins and discover the hidden caramel sauce while savoring the flavors of the pumpkin pudding!
Alternatively, you could invert the ramekins onto a plate to reveal the concealed caramel sauce. It's another delightful way to enjoy your pumpkin pudding!
Gently run a knife along the edges of the ramekins, then flip them over. This Japanese pumpkin pudding makes for a fantastic treat during Halloween or the holiday season! We hope you enjoy it!