Pumpkin-Butterscotch Custard With Spiced Whipped Cream Recipe (2024)

By Melissa Clark

Pumpkin-Butterscotch Custard With Spiced Whipped Cream Recipe (1)

Total Time
1 hour, plus at least 6 hours’ cooling and chilling
Read community notes

Butterscotch pudding gets an autumnal makeover with the addition of pumpkin purée and a fluffy, spiced whipped cream topping. To make this dish supremely festive, it’s baked in one large dish instead of individual custard cups. And because it needs to be prepared almost entirely in advance, it’s a perfect dinner party dessert. Serve it scooped into bowls, with some crisp cookies on the side.

Featured in: Yes, There Are Great Thanksgiving Desserts That Aren’t Pie

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Yield:8 to 10 servings

    For the Custard

    • 1cup/210 grams packed dark brown sugar
    • 1tablespoon/14 grams unsalted butter
    • cups/355 milliliters heavy cream
    • cups/355 milliliters whole milk
    • 5large eggs
    • 4large egg yolks
    • ½teaspoon fine sea or table salt
    • 1cup/250 grams pumpkin purée or solid pack pumpkin
    • 2teaspoons vanilla extract or bourbon
    • ½teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

    For the Topping

    • 2cups/473 milliliters heavy cream, cold
    • cup/35 grams confectioners’ sugar
    • ½teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, plus more to taste

Ingredient Substitution Guide

Nutritional analysis per serving (10 servings)

477 calories; 37 grams fat; 22 grams saturated fat; 1 gram trans fat; 10 grams monounsaturated fat; 2 grams polyunsaturated fat; 30 grams carbohydrates; 0 grams dietary fiber; 29 grams sugars; 8 grams protein; 200 milligrams sodium

Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Pumpkin-Butterscotch Custard With Spiced Whipped Cream Recipe (2)


Make the recipe with us

  1. Step


    Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Place a rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan on the center rack.

  2. Step


    In a medium saucepan, melt brown sugar and butter over medium-high heat, stirring, until sugar is melted, about 3 to 7 minutes. (Lower the heat if the sugar starts to burn.) Remove from heat and pour in a big splash of cream. The melted sugar will bubble up; wait for it to settle a bit, then stir to combine the caramel and cream. It may seize up into bits of hard candy-like caramel, and that is OK. Return the pan to medium-low heat, add remaining cream and milk and, whisking occasionally, let simmer until all the hard caramel bits are melted, 7 to 12 minutes.

  3. Step


    In a large heatproof bowl, whisk together eggs, yolks and salt. Pour a splash of the hot caramel mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly, then slowly pour in remaining caramel mixture. Whisk in pumpkin, bourbon or vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice.

  4. Step


    Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a shallow 2-quart ceramic casserole or baking dish, or 9-by-12-inch or 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish (don’t use metal). Cover loosely with aluminum foil and place on the rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan in the oven. Add hot tap water to the baking sheet or roasting pan until it comes a third of the way up the side of the custard dish.

  5. Step


    Bake the custard until the edges are just set but the center is still jiggly (the center will firm up as it cools), 50 to 65 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, remove foil and let cool for at least 1 hour. Cover the custard dish and chill until cold, at least 4 hours or up to 3 days.

  6. Step


    Make the topping: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk, beat the heavy cream, confectioners’ sugar and pumpkin pie spice until soft peaks form.

  7. Step


    To serve, heap the whipped cream onto the custard and sprinkle with more pumpkin pie spice, if you like.



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Cooking Notes


If using a 9 x 13 it won't take as long to bake. I checked it at 40 minutes and there were no jiggly bits in the middle, it was firm all the way through.


What would the cooking time be for individual casseroles/dishes?


To everyone who detests leaving a half can of pumpkin purée - I used a full 15 oz can and it still tastes fine. I suppose to compare correctly I should have also made it as written, but alas. Perhaps more controversial, I halved the sugar to meet my sweetness preferences. Doubled the spices in the pudding. Everyone in the family enjoyed it. Pairs well with the very thin triple ginger cookies from Trader Joe’s (which are very sweet, so I think goes better with a less sweet pudding).

Ahuva Greenblatt

In a word, no.


I made one BIG change. I used hachiya persimmon pulp instead of pumpkin and it was PERFECTION. The change to persimmon was a revelation. Also, the recipe works and is simple.Normally I don't like when people comment when they made big changes. I'm saying this because it's hard to know what to do with persimmon pulp and this recipe really works.


Jennifer, the answer to your question, is no. Since you detest pumpkin, this recipe cannot be made without it. The good news is you'll find a couple of great alternative recipes on this site, both of those also Melissa Clark originated, that do not include pumpkin. Search Old-Fashioned Butterscotch Pudding. Also Butterscotch Custard with Clove and Black Pepper.


Jennifer, apologies if you just in general don't like this family of squashes, but often I substitute butternut square puree in recipes that call for pumpkin puree...I prefer the butternut flavor over pumpkin.Either roasting butternut halves and then scooping out the flesh, or boiling chopped butternut pieces and then mashing the pieces, works well for creating the puree.

Ahuva Greenblatt

From the text in the recipe: "And because it needs to be prepared almost entirely in advance, it’s a perfect dinner party dessert."


Don't like pumpkin try subbing sweet potatoes!


Good, but not enough spices: maybe Allspice, cinnamon? Also, baked at 385 for 75 minutes before it set right.


What is pumpkin pie spice? Why not combine the various together.


Made as a rehearsal for Thanksgiving. Texture was good, but we found it too bland. Not enough of either butterscotch or pumpkin flavors, and could definitely use more spice. Not a keeper for us - we’ll go back to either butterscotch pudding or pumpkin pie.


Recipe step 5: Cover the custard dish and chill until cold, at least 4 hours or up to 3 days


Excellent recipe. Baked in a 9x13 pan and mine was done in 45 minutes. Used the bourbon and cut the sugar in the whipped cream by half, but I generally prefer things less sweet. I found that the cream complimented the sweetness of the custard well that way. Definitely worth making again.

Ahuva Greenblatt

One that's a couple of inches larger by length and width would do the trick.


Excellent recipe. Great alternative to pumpkin pie. Will make again!


Spectacular variation on pumpkin pie!!!


Could this be made with a sugar substitute?


do yourself a favor and add 1 cup unsweetened mashed sweet potato and double the pumpkin spice mix...#yummy

Patrick T

Do you prep the pan with cooking spray or butter?

Don Miguel R

This was the Belle of the Thanksgiving Ball…the day after. Thank goodness for the video — as I was frightened by both sugar chunks and the jiggle. All for naught. I made it the day before the feast, but I think it came into its own butterscotch goodness after 2 days.


Really good flavor and texture. Several things. Used 11x9 glass pan. Pretty much an entire can of pumpkin because of comments. Upped pumpkin pie spice to 1.25 tsp. Took an hour in convection oven and still a little giggly after cooling for 2 hours, so I would recommend going 1.25 hours. Vanilla in pudding instead of bourbon. Whipped cream was really good!


Ten out of ten. This dessert has a depth of flavor that makes it so much better than silly Pumpkin Pie. I do wish they’d provide the option/instruction for how to make it in individual ramekins.


Made a half recipe, cooking in a 1 qt shallow Corning Ware…Used 3 eggs + 2 yolks.Used extra pumpkin (couple of spoonfuls).Added a smidge of allspice to regular Penzy’s Pie Spice.Cooked total ~55 minutes.Really lovely!!


This is definitely a repeat recipe. Even though the sugar was a bit “overdone” and I somehow managed to forget the vanilla it was still very tasty. I used a smaller pan than 9x13 and it was set with just the slightest jiggle in about 48 minutes. I can’t see that more jiggle in the middle would change anything. I also allowed just over 2 hours in the fridge to set. It was fine, but I suspect the full 6 hours or overnight would be ideal. The whole 15 oz can of pumpkin should work fine, too.

Susan Cake Fan

I didn't realize I'd burned the sugar, which messed up the taste. And it took about 42 years to strain it. I'll be more careful with the caramel next time. What kind of strainer did folks use?


Any thoughts on substituting this custard recipe for the filling of a pumpkin pie? Has anyone tried this?


How much of the center needs to be “jiggly”? I am baking in a 9x13 glass dish and, after 65 mins, about a 1 inch band around the edges is set but there is a pretty large “jiggly” area. I am going to leave it for another 10 mins and maybe increase the temp to 350; let’s see what happens…

Claudia Wolff

I did individual custard cups. A half recipe fills 7 ramekins.

Suzanna zeitler

Could i make this in a Bundt? Would it keep its shape?

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Pumpkin-Butterscotch Custard With Spiced Whipped Cream Recipe (2024)
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