Pumpkin Flan with Spiced Pepitas

Pumpkin Flan with Spiced Pepitas

If you are looking for a wonderful fall or winter dessert that will impress your friends, and having them licking their plates, you have found it- you're welcome :) This is also a great gluten-free alternative for Thanksgiving!  Flan can seem so intimidating, but you really can make it home, with this simple recipe.  Just follow the directions, and be patient- this is not a dish to rush.  The delicious topping can be used for so many other dishes both sweet and savory (everything from salads to oatmeal), so make extra, to store in an airtight container! Flan can be made a day in advance, just keep it chilled.  Enjoy!


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • 1  cup organic whole milk
  • 1 (15-ounce) can or tetra pack organic pumpkin (not pie filling)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt


  • 1 cup hulled raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 1 teaspoon canola or safflower oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg 


  1. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Heat soufflé dish in oven while making caramel.
  3. To make caramel, cook 1 cup sugar in a dry 2-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, undisturbed, until it begins to melt.
  4. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally with a fork, until sugar melts into a deep golden caramel. 
  5. Remove hot dish from oven (wearing oven mitts!) and immediately pour caramel into dish, tilting to cover bottom and side.  Leave oven on.
  6. Keep tilting as caramel cools and thickens enough to coat, then put aside to let harden.
  7. Scald cream and milk in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, then remove from heat.
  8. In a KitchenAid or large mixing bowl, mix together whole eggs, yolk and remaining cup of sugar until well combined; then mix in pumpkin, vanilla, spices and salt.
  9. While continuously whisking, add hot cream mixture in a slow stream.
  10. Pour this custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, scraping with a rubber spatula to force through, then stir to combine well.
  11. Pour custard over caramel in soufflé dish, then bake in a water bath until flan is golden brown on top and a knife inserted in the center comes clean, about 75 minutes.
  12. Carefully remove dish from water bath and transfer to a rack to cool.
  13. Cover flan, and chill until cold, at least 6 hours.


  1. Toast pumpkin seeds in oil in a skillet over moderately low heat, stirring constantly, until puffed and older, about 8-10 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and toss with salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  3. Allow to cool, then store in an airtight container- these are a delicious topping for anything.  Add a pinch of cayenne if you like it spicy!


  1. When flan is completely cool, run a thin knife between it and the side of the dish to loosen.
  2. Shake dish gently from side to side, and when flan moves freely in dish, invert a large platter with a lip over the dish.
  3. Holding dish and platter securely together, quickly invert and turn out flan onto platter.
  4. Caramel will pour out over and around flan.
  5. Sprinkle with topping before serving.
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