Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Blue Pumpkin-Sweet Potato Custard

There is a store in San Francisco, a vegetarian's dream, called Rainbow Grocery (http://www.rainbowgrocery.org/). It is my favorite store in the whole world-everything in the store is vegetarian or vegan. The store has a big selection of produce, many unusual things that are hard to find. Most of the produce is organically grown. I asked Dave to stop by Rainbow Grocery last week to buy some pumpkins to make pumpkin pie. When he was there he discovered blue pumpkins-officially called jarrahdale pumpkins. He bought one for me to try, knowing that I love experimenting with new fruits and veggies.

Last night I roasted the blue pumpkin to see how it would taste before I decided on a recipe to use it in. Wow! It is one of the best things I've ever tasted. I want blue pumpkin dishes every day. To me, the flesh tastes like roasted chestnuts-much sweeter and nuttier than regular orange pumpkins. I am smitten with blue pumpkins.

I decided to use the pumpkin, and some sweet potatoes I had, in a custard recipe from the Rachael Ray magazine. The recipe can be either savory or sweet. I decided to serve it as a dessert. Truly fabulous, and very simple to make.

I only made 1/2 of the original recipe as I only had two pounds of cooked pumpkin/sweet potato flesh.
So now, my food obsessions are: fresh figs, fresh chestnuts, blue pumpkins, and wild strawberries (which I have only been able to find in France). This week, I am on the hunt for the chestnuts, and of course, more blue pumpkins. I am like a dog looking for it's bone when I have a recipe in my head that needs an unusual ingredient.

Here is the original recipe:
Sweet Potato Custard

4 pounds sweet potatoes
8 large eggs
4 cups milk
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
Preheat oven to 400F. On a baking sheet, bake the sweet potatoes until soft, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and lower the heat to 300F. Let the potatoes cool slightly, then peel. Transfer to a large bowl and mash.
In another large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, nutmeg and pepper, then whisk into the sweet potatoes.
Using a food processor and working in batches, puree the sweet potato mixture. Pour into a greased 4-quart casserole dish, place on the baking sheet and bake until just set but still jiggly in the center, about 50 minutes. Drizzle with maple syrup. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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