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Savory Pumpkin Custard

A Showstopping, Savory Pumpkin Custard

Roast turkey and maybe even a honey-glazed ham are a given at Thanksgiving, but what if you're a vegetarian or hosting one at your Thanksgiving table? Enter this showstopping pumpkin tian — essentially a savory custard — from John Besh's cookbook, Cooking From the Heart.

Far more simple to prepare than its dramatic presentation would suggest, this rich, eggy dish deserves a spot at your holiday table, dietary restrictions or not. I know I'll be giving it at least one more go this Fall.

Pumpkin Tian

Pumpkin Tian

Savory Pumpkin Custard


1 (4-5 pound) sugar pie pumpkin or kabocha squash
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 sprig fresh thyme
Dash of cayenne pepper
Dash of freshly grated nutmeg
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Cut the top off the pumpkin, about three inches below the stem, and reserve to serve with the squash. With a spoon, scoop out the seeds and reserve them for roasting. Use a spoon to scrape out as much of the pumpkin as you can, leaving the shell intact. Chop the flesh.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and pumpkin flesh and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pumpkin is tender, about 10 minutes. Add the thyme, cayenne, and nutmeg, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon the sautéed pumpkin back into the shell.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, and parmesan, and pour into the pumpkin shell. Place on a baking pan and bake until the top is golden brown and the custard is set, 45 minutes to one hour. Serve right from the pumpkin, with more grated parmesan cheese, while still hot.
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Nicole Perry
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