Pawpaws go well in all sorts of desserts, and this baked custard is no exception. For this recipe, we pair pawpaws with candied bacon in individual-serving ramekins. The sweet and salty bacon bits mixed into the creamy custard nicely complement the pawpaws' tropical flavor.
4 whole eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
3 cups whole milk
1 cup pawpaw puree
1/2 cup white sugar
10 slices of bacon
11/2 cups brown sugar
2 teaspoons Evan Williams Outdoorsman Edition Bourbon (or your favorite brand, or just vanilla extract if you’d rather)
pinch of salt
Start by pressing the bacon slices into the brown sugar until all surfaces are well covered. Place the bacon on a wire rack in a sheet pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes until crisp (times will vary depending on bacon thickness, start checking at 25 minutes and take it out when it looks crisp). Set the bacon aside and allow it to cool. Cut the bacon slices in half, reserving five crisp halves for garnish. Chop the remaining bacon into small bits.
Scoop out the pawpaw flesh from the skin and pick out the seeds. Add the pawpaw flesh to a blender or food processor and pulse until it forms a smooth puree.
In a large bowl, blend the milk, eggs, additional yolks, pawpaw puree and bourbon. Add a pinch of salt. Stir well to blend until the mixture is smooth.
Slice five strips of bacon in half. Reserve the five crispiest halves. Chop the remaining bacon into bits and add to the custard mixture.
Place five oven-safe ramekins or custard cups in a baking pan. Distribute the custard mixture evenly among the five cups. Move the baking pan to the oven rack and very carefully add hot water to the pan until it comes half to three quarters up the sides of the ramekins. Take care not to get water inside the custard cups.
Bake for 50 minutes at 350 degrees until the center of the custards are just set.
Carefully remove the baking pan from the oven, taking care not to splash the hot water out of the dish or onto your custard. Allow the dish to cool before removing the cups from the water. Garnish each cup with a half slice of candied bacon. Eat the custards while still warm, or refrigerate and serve chilled.
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