Pumpkin Ginger Rice Pudding

1/2 small pumpkin or 1 butternut squash, halved and seeded
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
2/3 cup long-grain white rice
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 cups whole milk
8 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger (2 oz)
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar such as Sugar in the Raw (optional)

Bake pumpkin:

  • Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 450°F.
  • Arrange pumpkin, cut side up, on a sheet of foil. Top with 1/2 tablespoon butter and 1 teaspoon granulated sugar. Wrap in foil and bake, cut sides up, in a shallow baking pan until flesh is tender, about 1 hour.
  • Open foil and cool pumpkin slightly, then scoop flesh into a food processor and purée until smooth.
  • Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.

Cook rice while pumpkin bakes:

  • Heat rice, salt, 4 cups milk, and remaining 2/3 cup granulated sugar in a 2- to 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring, until very hot. Transfer to a large metal bowl set over a large saucepan of simmering water (or to a double boiler) and cook over low heat, covered, stirring occasionally, until rice is tender and most of milk is absorbed, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. (Add more simmering water to saucepan if necessary.) Remove pan from heat and keep rice warm, covered.

Make pudding:

  • Lightly whisk yolks in a large bowl, then whisk in vanilla, ginger, 1 1/3 cups pumpkin purée (reserve remainder for another use), and remaining cup milk. Gradually stir in warm rice, then pour mixture into a buttered 2-quart flameproof shallow baking dish (not glass). Set baking dish in a roasting pan and bake pudding in a hot water bath, uncovered, in oven until set, 50 minutes to 1 hour.
  • If caramelizing pudding, sprinkle evenly with turbinado sugar, then move blowtorch flame evenly back and forth over sugar until sugar is melted and caramelized. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Posted in Desserts

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