From soups to scones to smoothies, I thought I’d tried pumpkin in pretty much everything.

Until today, that is…when I made pumpkin clafouti.

Clafouti is a traditional French dessert that is very simple to prepare. It is often made with fruits such as cherries or plums, and is like a pancake on the outside with a sweet custard center…what is not to love?

This recipe for pumpkin clafouti comes from The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern by Claudia Fleming with Melissa Clark (which I borrowed over the weekend from a friend). I’m pretty smitten with the book, so I’m hoping she won’t ask for it back anytime soon: sadly, it’s out of print.

I love that this recipe calls for cheese pumpkin purée, because I grew my own cheese pumpkins this year.

Cheese pumpkins are tan-ish in color and have dense flesh that is very sweet and delicious. Like all pumpkins, they are high in beta-carotene, an antioxidant that may help in the fight against free-radical damage (which can lead to big health problems including cancer). Pumpkins also have lots of vitamin C, potassium, zinc, and fiber-filled healthful carbohydrates.

To make the pumpkin purée in this recipe, I seeded the pumpkin and baked large slices in a 350°F oven for about an hour. Then scooped the flesh out of the skins and strained it in a towel-lined colander in the refrigerator overnight.

In the morning, I blended the purée and then drained it again…it’s important to remove as much liquid as possible before proceeding with the recipe. If you can’t find cheese pumpkin, Fleming suggests substituting butternut or Hubbard squash. Canned pumpkin purée can also be used (I personally prefer the organic brands).

This clafouti is a nice change of pace for breakfast; it also makes a wonderful fall dessert.

Recipe for Pumpkin Clafouti

Adapted from The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern by Claudia Fleming with Melissa Clark
Serves 8

Ingredients:

*2/3 cup pumpkin purée
*1 cup milk or 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 cup cream (I used raw milk)
*3/4 cup organic sugar
*5 eggs, preferably organic and free-range
*1 teaspoon vanilla
*pinch of sea salt
*1/2 cup flour (I used spelt flour; I think almond or hazelnut flour would work well for a gluten-free version)
*3-4 tablespoons toasted pumpkin seeds or chopped toasted hazelnuts
*2 tablespoons organic powdered sugar- optional

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425°F.

2. Place the drained pumpkin purée, milk, sugar, eggs, vanilla, salt and flour in a blender or food processor and blend until very smooth.

3. Pour the batter through a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl (to remove any trace of stringy pumpkin solids) and allow to stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes.

4. Butter a 9-inch round pie plate or cast-iron skillet. Pour the batter in, and then sprinkle the pumpkin seeds or hazelnuts over the batter.

5. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Lower the heat to 375°F and bake for another 10-12 minutes, until the center is set. Sprinkle with the optional powdered sugar and serve warm (but know that cold slices are really delicious, too).