Baked Miniature Pumpkins Filled with Quinoa, Apple, and Fig Custard

As we prepare to say goodbye to 2013, we are also wrapping up the International Year of Quinoa. Hopefully you can squeeze in a celebration in the next couple of weeks for one of my all time favorite grains. I most commonly use quinoa in salads, but I dug up this really delicious sounding recipe for a quinoa custard from the Kirschner Collection. I hope you enjoy it.

Baked Miniature Pumpkins Filled with Quinoa, Apple, and Fig Custard

Ingredients

8 miniature pumpkins, weighing about 3/4 lb. each
1 1/2 C. milk
3 eggs
Pinch salt
1/2 C. light brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 3/4 C. cooked quinoa
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice mix
1 medium Granny Smith apple, peeled and finely chopped (2/3 C)
Few drops lemon juice
6-8 dried figs, finely diced (1/2 C)
1/2 C. coarsely broken, toasted pecans
1 C heavy cream
1 Tbs. fine sugar
1 tsp. brandy
Fig leaves for plates (optional)

Instructions

Slice off the stem ends of the pumpkins about 1 inch down, making a lid. Set the lids aside. Scoop out and discard the seeds and the strings from the center, leaving about a 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch wall. Place the pumpkins in one or two shallow baking dishes.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. and boil a kettle of water. In a large mixing bowl, add the milk and the eggs and whisk to combine. Add the salt, sugar and vanilla and whisk again. Then stir in the cooked quinoa and the remaining ingredients except the heavy cream, fine sugar and brandy. Fill each pumpkin with 4 to 5 tablespoons of the filling. Pour 1 inch of boiling water into the bottom of the pans and bake for 45 to 60 minutes. Test the flesh of the pumpkin with the point of a knife to see if they are tender. Remove the m from the oven and cool them to lukewarm.
Whip the cream and the fine sugar with a beater until stiff. Then whip in the brandy and set aside.
Serve the pumpkins warm on a fig leaf (if you have access to a fig tree) or on a paper doily. Place the reserved lid on the side of the plate for decoration and spoon some brandied whipped cream on top of each pumpkin

By The Versatile Grain and the Elegant Bean (1992) by Sheryl and Mel London

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