Pumpkin-Ginger Flan

Serves 8
1 C sugar
1/2 C water
1/4 C grated fresh gingerroot
2 C half & half
4 large eggs
1 1/2 C canned organic pumpkin
1/2 C sugar
1/4 t salt

1. In a heavy saucepan combine 1 c. sugar, the water and ginger. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes. Strain the mixture into a bowl, reserving the ginger and transfer syrup back into the saucepan. Cook syrup over moderate heat, swirling the pan to even out the caramel color as it cooks (don’t stir, don’t put any utensil in the pan) until it is deep caramel color. Divide the caramel between eight 3/4 cup ramekins, coating the bottoms evenly.
2. Preheat oven to 350. In another saucepan, scald the half-&-half with the reserved ginger. In a bowl combine the eggs, lightly beaten, the pumpkin, sugar & salt. Strain the heated & ginger-infused half & half (to remove the ginger) into the pumpkin mixture, whisking; discard gingerroot.Divide this into the prepared ramekins. Put filled ramekins in a baking pan, add enought hot water to the pan to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake custards for 35-45 minutes or until they are just set. Remove ramekins from the pan & let custards cool until they are lukewarm. Chill custards for at least 2 hrs. or overnight and invert them onto individual small plates by running a sharp small knife around the sides of each one & serve!