Fluffy and sweet, this dish is perfect for the holidays and somewhere between a dessert and an appetizer. I got this recipe from my good friend Lee Zucker; we used to serve this at her restaurant, The Locomotive, in Eugene, Oregon.
1 stick (4 ozs.) unsalted butter*, plus some for pan
4-5 very large carrots (1 1/2 lbs. total weight)
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons white, all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder
Generous pinch of salt
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 1 1/2-quart casserole (about 8 1/2 inches square) or 6 custard cups. If using custard cups, set them in a roasting pan for ease of handling.
2. Peel carrots and chop into 1/2-inch rounds. Drop into a pot of 3 cups boiling water. When water returns to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook 10-15 minutes—until soft. Drain carrots well, return to pot, and mash with a potato masher; alternatively, pulse in a food processor to a coarse puree—slushy with no big pieces, but not smooth like baby food. Measure out 2 cups; store remainder for another use.
3. While carrots are still hot, add to them the 4 ozs. butter and the sugar and mix well. If carrots become too cool, return to heat briefly. In a small bowl, beat eggs; add and mix into carrot mixture. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt, then mix well into carrots. Pour into prepared casserole or custard cups.
4. Bake at 350 degrees until set—about 50-60 minutes for a casserole, 40 minutes for custard cups. Rotate pan front to back for even baking half way through cooking time. When done, a knife inserted at center should come out oily-looking but not creamy-looking. If baked in a casserole, it probably will not puff; in custard cups, it will lift above the rim like a soufflé. (Serve immediately, or it will fall. It will taste the same, just look more ordinary.) To reheat, if made earlier, microwave a single serving for one minute; longer for multiple servings. If reheating multiple servings, carefully insert a skinny knife near center of one serving and touch deep inside to be sure they’re hot inside. Pierced spot can be smoothed over to camouflage the experiment.
*If using salted butter, delete salt in recipe
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