Spiced Pumpkin Flan
Preheat oven to 325°F.
To prepare caramel, lightly coat 6, 6-ounce ramekins with atomized canola oil. Combine ½ cup organic sugar and ¼ cup water in a small, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Cook 4-5 minutes or until sugar dissolves stirring occasionally. Increase heat to medium-high. Cook, without stirring, 6 minutes or until mixture turns golden brown. Divide evenly into prepared ramekins. Set aside.
To prepare flan, combine ⅓ cup organic sugar and egg yolks in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Stir in pumpkin, ground ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves. In a heavy saucepan, combine milk, fresh ginger and vanilla bean. Heat over medium-high heat until tiny bubbles form around the edges. Take care not to let it come to a full simmer. Remove vanilla bean, scraping inside portion of the pod back into the milk mixture. Gradually whisk in kefir. Then, add ⅓ of hot milk mixture to egg mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk. Gradually add this all back to the remaining milk mixture. Reduce heat and cook until almost simmering. Remove from heat.
Pour milk mixture evenly among prepared ramekins. Place cups in a baking pan large enough to accommodate them all. Add hot water to pan to a depth of 1-inch. Place in oven for 50 minutes or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean.
Remove cups from pan; cool completely on a wire rack. Chill at least 8 hours.
To serve: Carefully loosen edges of custards with a knife. Invert ramekins onto plates. Drizzle any remaining caramel over custards.
In Your Glass
At our house we have relished the richness and warm, characteristically autumnal spice of this end-of-meal dish with a glass of Port, whether a vintage Port from the Douro Valley in Portugal or Shafer’s luscious Cabernet Sauvignon dessert wine called “Firebreak.” This is one time you’ll certainly be glad you opted in for this dessert duet!