Coconut milk custard in a pumpkin bowl

When the weather starts to get chilly, we tend to gravitate toward things that are nice and warm. Sure, nice can be a little bit subjective, but there must be some common ground among us.

When Pittsburgh’s weather skips the sunny, cool weather and jumps right into the damp, dark cold, lying in your soft bed under a warm comforter in the morning is really nice. In this weather and probably for the next four to five months, staying in bed and watching Gossip Girl seems like the perfect thing to do.

The best thing about cold weather, though, is the food. Specifically, custard — coconut milk custard, that is. Even better is coconut milk custard in a pumpkin. The fragrance of coconut milk custard will make any place even more heavenly.
1 pumpkin, approximately 6–12 inches in diameter
½ cup of palm sugar
(or substitute with ½ cup of granulated sugar)
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup coconut milk
7 eggs
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

The pumpkin will serve as the container for your custard, so be sure to rinse your pumpkin before taking the meat out. If you wash your pumpkin after you take out the meat, the excess water might affect how your custard cooks. Start by converting your pumpkin into your custard container by removing the top of the pumpkin. Try to leave at least one inch around the stem so you will have room to work later. You’ll end up with a piece of pumpkin that serves as a lid (with stem) and a bowl. Also, scrap all the seeds and a little bit of pumpkin meat to leave room to fill in your custard. Any normal spoon should do the trick.

To start the custard, put four eggs in a large bowl along with vanilla extract. Using a fork, mix the eggs and vanilla extract until fully incorporated.

In another bowl, mix all of the remaining ingredients together (coconut milk, palm sugar, sugar, salt, and all-purpose flour) until all the sugar dissolves. Do not heat this mixture up or you run the risk of the coconut milk separating into coconut water and coconut oil. Once all of the sugars are dissolved, add this sugar-coconut milk mixture into the egg and vanilla mixture and mix well.

Before pouring the custard mixture into your pumpkin bowl, make sure that your pumpkin is dry. Pour your custard mixture into your pumpkin bowl, leaving an inch from the top of the pumpkin. Place your pumpkin on a microwave-safe plate, cover it with plastic wrap and microwave on high for around 15–25 minutes.

If you just make the custard in a cup instead of in a pumpkin bowl, it takes approximately four minutes per cup of custard mixture. From start to finish, making just the custard takes less than 20 minutes.

Looking closely at the ingredients, what affects the taste is mostly sugar and coconut milk. What affects the texture of the custard is the proportion of coconut milk to eggs. So, you can adjust the sweetness of the custard without changing the firmness by using less sugar. If you want your custard to be firmer, you can use less coconut milk. But if you are using less coconut milk to get firmer custard, make sure to skim the top of the coconut milk when you open the can, as it is more concentrated on the top.