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Spiced Shortbread and Pumpkin Custard Dessert Jars


Spiced Shortbread and Pumpkin Custard Dessert Jars



Pumpkin Spiced Shortbread

  • 150g (5.3 oz, or 10 Tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 75g (2.8oz) brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • 300g (10.6oz) all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ginger
  • ¼ tsp cloves
  • ⅛ tsp allspice
  • ½ tsp salt

For binding the crust (jar assembly step): 50g unsalted butter, melted

Brown Sugar Pumpkin Custard

  • 350g heavy cream
  • 150g whole milk
  • 150g egg yolks
  • 100g white Sugar
  • 75g brown sugar
  • 16g corn starch
  • 5g (1 tsp) vanilla bean paste
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 15oz can, or 425g pumpkin puree

Pecan Crunch

  • 3 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 3 Tbsp light corn syrup or glucose
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 125g toasted pecans, roughly chopped.

Vanilla bean maple whipped cream

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • ½ tsp vanilla bean paste



  1. Preheat the oven to 300˚f/150˚c. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the vanilla and mix until combined. Add the flour, spices, and salt, and mix until just combined and a dough comes together. Turn out onto a work surface and form the dough into a log shape. Cut slices about ½ an inch thick, and place onto the prepared baking sheet with a little space between each. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until lightly golden. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container until ready to use.


  1. Place the cream and milk in a medium pot over low heat. Heat until you just start to see some bubbles and movement around the edge of the pot. While the cream and milk are heating, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, brown sugar, corn starch, vanilla bean paste, and salt in a medium bowl, whisking well until the mixture is pale. 
  2. Once the milk and cream has almost come to a boil, remove from the heat. Pour half of the cream mixture into the egg yolk mixture, whisking continuously until smooth. This tempers the egg yolks to prevent them from scrambling on contact with the hot cream. Return the cream and egg mixture to the pot, and place over a low to medium heat. Add the pumpkin puree, and whisk well until completely combined. Cook the mixture over a low to medium heat, whisking continuously, until the custard has thickened significantly - enough to coat the back of a spoon enough that when you run a finger across the spoon, it leaves a clear track. 
  3. Place a sieve over a clean medium sized bowl. Strain the thickened custard through the sieve - you may need to do this in two batches. Using an immersion blender, blend the mixture until completely smooth. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly over the surface of the custard, and refrigerate until cooled completely - at least 4 hours.


  1. Preheat the oven to 425˚f / 220˚c. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the maple syrup, corn syrup, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a small pot over medium heat. Heat, stirring frequently with a spatula, until the mixture is combined and the sugar has melted. Add the pecans and stir until they are evenly coated. Spread the mixture out on the prepared pan. Bake for 7-8 minutes, or until the sugar mixture is bubbling and golden. Remove from the oven, and cool completely before hitting it with a rolling pin or other hard object to break up into crumbs. Store in an airtight container until you are ready to use - use within 1-2 days.


  1. Place the heavy cream, maple syrup, and vanilla in a large bowl, or bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip on medium speed until soft peaks form, then for just a few seconds more - you want it to be just past the 'soft peaks' stage.



  1. Place 250g of the shortbread in the work bowl of a food processor. Blitz until it resembles fine crumbs. Transfer to a medium bowl, and add 50g melted butter. Stir well with a spatula until evenly combined. 
  2. Place 1 ½ to 2 Tbsp of the spiced shortbread mixture in the bottom of each jar, packing it very loosely with a spoon. (Don't press down too hard or they are tricky to eat). 
  3. Place the cooled custard mixture into a large piping bag, and snip the end off to form a small hole. Alternatively you can use a large ziploc bag. Pipe the custard into the jars, leaving about ½ to ¾ inch of space at the top of each jar. Bang the jars lightly against the bench to help remove any bubbles. 
  4. If you are preparing the jars in advance, place them in the fridge until you are ready to serve, then add the cream just before serving if possible. If you need to add the cream, do not add the pecan crunch until serving.
  5. Top each jar with a dollop of the vanilla bean maple whipped cream, and sprinkle with a generous amount of the pecan crunch. 
  6. Store any leftovers in the fridge.


Pecan Crunch adapted from Sweet