Nutrition per serving may change if servings are adjusted.
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups nonfat evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 hazelnuts, (1/2 ounce)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, (Neufchâtel)
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon Cognac, or vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 °F.
Whisk together pumpkin, eggs, milk and vanilla in a medium bowl.
Combine brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt in a small bowl. Sift into the pumpkin mixture and whisk until incorporated. Divide the mixture equally among six 3/4-cup custard cups.
Set the cups in a baking dish and pour in boiling water to come halfway up the outsides of the cups. Bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Remove the custards from the oven and cool them to room temperature. Chill for at least 2 hours before serving.
Meanwhile, spread hazelnuts on a pie plate and toast in a 350 °F oven for 10 minutes to loosen the skins. Rub off skins and let cool. Chop finely and set aside.
Line a baking sheet with foil. Combine granulated sugar and water in a small, heavy saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook, without stirring, until the syrup is a deep amber color, 5 to 10 minutes. Do not let the syrup burn. Pour the hot syrup onto the prepared baking sheet. Quickly tilt to spread the caramel in a thin layer. Sprinkle on the toasted nuts. Let cool. When the caramel is hard, break into shards.
Process cream cheese, confectioners' sugar and Cognac (or vanilla) in a food processor or blender until smooth. Garnish the custards with a spoonful of the cream and shards of the hazelnut caramel.
Make Ahead Tip: Prepare the custards through Step 4; cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. The caramel (Step 6) can be prepared up to a week ahead and stored in an airtight container.