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Note: I use two glass loaf pans set in a 10 x 13-inch baking dish. Any arrangement that gives the custard a depth of 1-1/2 to 2 inches would be fine. The water should be about the same depth.
Custard: Combine all ingredients and whisk to blend
Caramel: Place sugar sprinkled with water in a shallow pan. Mix sugar with a fork until evenly moistened and place over medium-high heat. Heat sugar until dissolved and caramelized. Rotate pan to help dissolve sugar but do not stir.
Quickly transfer caramel to baking dish(es), rotating to cover bottom but not sides of baking dish. Place baking dish(es) in a pan of water. I use a convection oven and bake it at 330 degrees until knife inserted into center comes out clean. Cool, then refrigerate overnight. To serve, run a sharp knife around sides of baking dish and invert onto plate. Serve with whipped cream. I like to add a bit of Grand Marnier or other liqueur to the cream when whipping. Incredible!
Second Note: If you aren't used to using real pumpkin, you should try it. Grow or buy pie pumpkins -- the meat has a nicer texture. They will keep quite a while in a cool, dry place. Clean the seeds and stringies out, cut into big chunks, and microwave until quite tender in a glass dish covered with plastic wrap. Cool, then mash or puree. You will be amazed at how much better it is. You can also freeze the cooked pumpkin if you are not going to use it all within a few days.
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