Despite a declared pumpkin shortage, there's still plenty of canned and fresh pumpkin to go around this fall. Pumpkin flavors everything at this time of year -- beer, bread, even coffee. So take advantage of the bounty and forget about pie. Pumpkin, though distinctive in flavor, is fairly neutral and can be the basis of sweet or savory dishes. It's best to avoid the large jack-o'-lantern pumpkins, because they're grainy and stringy. Instead, choose small sugar or pie pumpkins that abound at farmers markets and increasingly are available in supermarkets.
Beyond Pie: 11 Ways to Cook or Bake With Pumpkin
For all intents and purposes, pumpkin custard is the same as pumpkin pie, minus the crust. The overall effect is lighter and less calorie laden. Use a favorite pumpkin pie filling, which invariably involves a custard made with evaporated milk, eggs, pumpkin purée (of course), sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Pour the custard into individual ramekins and bake for about 45 minutes at 300 degrees. Don't forget the whipped cream.