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Pumpkin Butterscotch Pudding with Whipped Mascarpone and Toasted Buckwheat

Silky pudding kissed with molasses and spices tastes just like the best pumpkin pie ever, only way easier. Whipped mascarpone and toasted buckwheat and pecans make a pretty and tasty topping; feel free to substitute regular whipped cream and toasted walnuts or pumpkin seeds if you prefer.
Servings: 6 (1/2 cup) servings

Ingredients

Pudding:

  • ½ cup (110 g) dark brown sugar (preferably organic)
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons (17 g) cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric (optional, mostly for color)
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 ½ cups (355 ml) whole milk
  • ½ cup (120 ml) heavy cream
  • ½ cup (120 ml) unsweetened pumpkin puree
  • ½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped
  • 1 teaspoon packed finely grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons (30 g) unsalted butter

Topping:

  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) mascarpone (or creme fraiche)
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) heavy whipping cream
  • 1-2 teaspoons sugar (to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract, or seeds from 1/4 vanilla bean
  • tiny pinch fine sea salt
  • handful raw buckwheat groats
  • handful toasted pecans, roughly chopped or broken
  • flaky salt (optional)

Instructions

  • In a large saucepan, whisk together the brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, turmeric, allspice, and salt until combined. Whisk in the milk, cream, pumpkin puree, vanilla bean and scrapings, and ginger. Place the pot over medium heat and gradually bring to a boil, whisking constantly and making sure to scrape the bottom and corners of the pans with the whisk. You’ll have to stop whisking for a few seconds to verify that the pudding is boiling, which you’ll know by the big bubbles that pop gloopily. Once the mixture comes to a boil, continue cooking and whisking for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, and whisk in the butter. It should be the consistency of creamy yogurt.
  • Strain the hot pudding through a mesh strainer and into a large measuring pitcher, then divide the hot pudding among 6 (4-ounce) heatproof cups or jars. Cover the puddings and chill until set, at least 2 hours and up to 2 or 3 days.
  • Combine the mascarpone, cream, sugar, vanilla and salt in a medium bowl and whisk until it holds soft peaks. Chill until needed. Toast the buckwheat groats in a small, dry skillet over medium heat, shaking the pan frequently, until the buckwheat turns golden and smells nutty, 2-3 minutes. Tip into a small bowl and allow to cool completely.
  • Serve the puddings topped with a plume of whipped mascarpone and a dusting of toasted buckwheat, pecans, and/or flaky salt, if you like.
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