Uncle Julio's Pumpkin Flan

Uncle Julio's Restaurant Recipe

2 1/2 cups sugar, divided
1/3 cup water, plus more for brushing
1 (15 oz.) can solid pack pumpkin puree*
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons cinnamon, plus more for serving
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 quarts milk, divided
6 large eggs
17 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup whipped cream, for garnish

Place 10 (8 ounce) oven proof ramekins in bottom of large deep roasting pan; set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a small heavy bottomed saucepan over medium high heat, combine 1 cup sugar and 1/3 cup water. To prevent crystallization of sugar, use a wet pastry brush to brush down any sugar on the sides of pan.

Cook sugar to an amber brown, brushing down sides of any sugar, and gently swirling pan occasionally. Remove from heat and, working quickly, pour a thin layer of caramel into ramekins tilting to coat bottoms.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment or a blender on medium speed, combine pumpkin, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and 3 cups of milk until smooth.

Using a large saucepan over medium heat, whisk together pumpkin mixture, remaining 5 cups milk and remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar. Heat until it comes to a simmer, whisking occasionally. Remove from heat, set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment on medium high, whip whole eggs, yolks, and vanilla 1 minute.

Reduce to low speed. Temper the eggs by slowly adding 1 cup of hot milk mixture. Repeat with another cup of hot milk mixture. Remove the bowl from the mixer and add remaining milk mixture, stirring slowly to avoid creating "foam" in the custard. Using a large measuring cup with a spout or a ladle, fill the prepared ramekins 1/4-inch from the top.

Place the roasting pan in oven. Add enough hot water to reach half 1/2-inch from the tops of the ramekins. Cook until the blade of paring knife inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Remove from water bath and cool on a wire rack. Refrigerate and chill before serving.

To serve, run a paring knife around the edge, invert flans onto rimmed dessert plates to catch the caramel sauce. Garnish with a dollop of whipped cream sprinkled with cinnamon. Makes 10 servings.

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