The puddings can be made a day ahead and refrigerated, but bring them to room temperature before serving.
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup pecan halves (about 3 oz/90 g), broken in rough quarters
Pinch of kosher salt
14-oz (398 mL) can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling), about 1 3/4 cups
3/4 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground mace
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups evaporated milk (not condensed) or 18% cream
2 tbsp dark rum
1/2 tsp lightly packed grated orange zest, preferably organic
Cinnamon whipped cream
1/2 cup 35% (whipping) cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp granulated sugar
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
For the brittle, melt half the sugar in a small heavy saucepan over medium-low heat. Once the sugar starts to melt around the edge of the pan, stir until all the sugar has melted. Add the remaining sugar and stir until it has turned a caramel color. This could take up to 15 minutes. If you have a candy thermometer, it should register 250°F (120°C), just below hard boil.
Stir in the pecans and salt and quickly pour the mixture onto a lightly buttered counter or baking sheet. Use a lightly oiled spatula to smooth the brittle into a thin layer (about ¼ inch thick). Allow to cool and then break into shards. Extra brittle will keep in a closed container for a few days.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
For the puddings, combine the pumpkin, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and mace in a large bowl.
Whisk together the eggs, evaporated milk, rum and orange zest in a separate bowl. Stir the egg mixture into the puree.
Divide the custard among six 6-cup ovenproof ramekins and place in a roasting pan. If there are any small bubbles on top of the custards, draw the tip of a small knife across the top to break them.
Make a bain marie by pouring warm water into the roasting pan until it comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Place a piece of foil lightly over the top and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the puddings are barely quivering in the middle.
Remove the ramekins from the oven, cool on a rack and refrigerate, covered, until an hour before serving.
For the whipped cream, combine the cream and vanilla in a bowl and whip until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and cinnamon. Whip until the cream is soft and billowy. Refrigerate.
Garnish the flans with a dollop of whipped cream and a shard of pecan brittle.
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Excerpted from Two Dishes by Linda Haynes and Devin Connell Copyright © 2009 by Linda Haynes and Devin Connell. Excerpted by permission of McClelland & Stewart. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.