This is an easy dessert to make for the upcoming holiday parties, for donating to school bake sales, and in this case, for fulfilling spouse's request for a contribution to the Thanksgiving office party. (We didn't get to eat this! I'll just make it again next week.)
Pumpkin Flan from Bon Appetit, Nov. 1999
Preheat oven to 375F. Heat a 2-qt. souffle dish or round ceramic casserole in middle of oven.
Make the caramel: Cook 1 cup sugar in a dry 2-qt. heavy saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring slowly with a fork, until melted and pale golden. (You may also add from 1 to 1&1/2 tbsp. water to start dissolving the sugar.) Cook caramel w/o stirring, swirling pan, until deep golden, about 5 minutes. Warning: it is very hot!
Quickly and carefully remove hot dish from oven and immediately pour caramel into dish, tilting it to cover bottom and sides. (Leave oven on). Keep tilting as caramel cooks and thickens enough to stay in place.
Scald 1 can of evaporated milk (1 &1/3 cups) and 1 cup light cream or half-and-half in a saucepan and remove from heat. In a large bowl, beat 5 eggs and 1 cup sugar with an electric mixer until smooth and cream. Beat in 1/4 tsp. salt, 1 15-oz. can solid pack pumpkin(1 &3/4 cups), 2 tbsp. bourbon or rum, and 1 tsp. cardamom, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. ground ginger, 1/4 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg, 1/4 tsp. allspice. Pour milk mixture through a sieve into a bowl and beat into pumpkin mixture in a slow stream until combined well.
Pour custard over caramel in dish and set in a water bath of 1 inch hot water. Put pan in middle of oven and lower temperature to 350F. Bake until golden brown on top and a knife inserted in middle comes out clean, about 1 &1/4 hours, possibly longer. Remove dish from water bath and transfer to a rack to cool. Chill flan, covered, until cold, at least 6 hours.
To unmold flan, run a thin knife around flan to loosen from sides of dish. Wiggle dish from side to side, and when flan moves freely, invert a large serving platter with a lip over dish. Holding dish and platter securely together, quickly invert and turn out flan onto platter. Caramel will pour out over and around it. Cut flan into wedges and serve with caramel spooned over...
(Will post the unmolding-photos next time...husband did this by himself at the office party--with a slight mishap! but it is all gone by now.)