Caramel Sauce: Put the sugar and water in a small pan and set to medium heat. Shake the pan now and again and simmer until the colour darkens.
When it becomes this colour, tilt the pan away from you and add the boiling water. Turn off the heat and be careful not to burn yourself!
Whilst still hot, pour the caramel sauce into the cocottes and leave to chill in the fridge.
Peel the kabocha squash and cut into bitesize pieces. Heat in a microwave at 600W for 5 minutes.
When softened, put into a food processor and blend into a smooth paste. Creating a slightly dry paste with the pumpkins is ideal here.
Add the ingredients marked with ● in the order that they are shown on the ingredients list. Hold the whisk vertically and gently whisk the ingredients together.
Strain the mixture twice. It might take a bit of effort but this is a really important step.
Check that the caramel has hardened (if not your caramel will mix in with the custard pudding mixture) and if it has, pour the mixture into the cocottes.
Lightly cover the cocottes with aluminum foil and place them on a baking tray. Fill the baking tray 1 cm deep with lukewarm water and cook the custard puddings in the water bath in an oven preheated to 170°C for 35 - 40 minutes.
They will rise and come out fluffy. When they are finished cooking, a toothpick inserted into the pudding will come out clean. When you chill them they should sink down a little.
The end result I decorated this one with a glazed kabocha squash peel. I boiled the peel with just enough water to cover it, 1 tablespoon of butter and 2 teaspoons of sugar.
If you cover the cocottes with aluminium foil the top won't brown so much, so make sure to adjust the bake time according to your oven and check that they are cooked through properly.
By the way, my oven cooks things quite quickly.
Story Behind this Recipe
This is a favourite pudding recipe of mine that my mother used to make. It really brings out the sweetness of the kabocha squash, it's so tasty! You can also leave out the caramel sauce and serve this as a snack to small children.
The kabocha squash I used was grown in Japan, and is very sweet and fluffy. Please make sure to use real cream made from animal products. The fibre from the kabocha squash is difficult to get rid of, so please make sure to strain the mixture twice to get a smooth pudding. The more you chill the custard puddings, the more delicious they will be. So if you can, try and leave them to chill overnight.