Monday, November 25, 2013

Cheese Fondue Stuffed Roasted Pumpkin

I was going to a vegetarian Thanksgivingukkah potluck, and I knew exactly what I wanted to bring.  I've been wanting to make this dish ever since I read the HuffPost Taste's article raving about it last year.  It's basically a pumpkin hollowed out and stuffed with breadcrumbs, cheese, and heavy cream, then roasted until the pumpkin is soft and scoopable and the filling is hot and bubbly.

The original recipe from Gourmet calls for a 7 lb. pumpkin, but the only pumpkin I was able to buy so late in the season was as an add-on order from Boston Organics, and it was only 3.5 lbs.  So I adapted the recipe a bit with the help of Dorie Greenspan's version and one of the reviews from the Gourmet recipe which suggested drizzling honey throughout the layers.  I stuck with the Gruyère and Emmental cheeses from the original recipe this time, but in the future, I think it'd be fine to use some cheeses that you don't need to go to Whole Foods to find, like regular Swiss or Brie.

To serve, I just used a large spoon to scoop out some of the filling and then scrape some of the pumpkin meat onto my plate.  You can also scrape all the pumpkin into the filling and mix it all up before serving or just cut the pumpkin into wedges and plate it that way.  Either way, serve the pumpkin with some extra baguette slices and maybe extra honey.  And make sure you save the pumpkin seeds to roast with olive oil and Old Bay seasoning!

Cheese Fondue Stuffed Roasted Pumpkin
serves 6-8 as an appetizer

1 sugar pumpkin, about 3 1/2 pounds
1 baguette
3 ounces Emmental cheese, coarsely grated
3 ounces Gruyère cheese, coarsely grated
1 cup heavy cream
Freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 450°F with rack in lower third.

Slice the baguette into 1/2 inch slices.  Cut half of them into 1/2 inch cubes.

Toast the baguette slices and cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet in oven until tops are crisp (bread will still be pale), about 7 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.

Remove top of pumpkin by cutting a circle around the stem with a small sharp knife. Scrape out seeds and any loose fibers from inside pumpkin with a spoon (including top of pumpkin; reserve seeds for another use if desired).  Season the inside with 1/4 teaspoon salt and a drizzle of honey.

Whisk together cream, nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a bowl. Mix together cheeses in another bowl.

Put a layer of toasted bread cubes in bottom of pumpkin, then cover with about 1/2 cup cheese and about 1/3 cup cream mixture. Drizzle some more honey on top of the cheese and cream.  Continue layering bread, cheese, cream mixture, and honey until pumpkin is filled to about 1/2 inch from top. (You may have some leftover bread, cheese, and cream left over.)

Cover pumpkin with top and put in an oiled small roasting pan. Brush outside of pumpkin all over with olive oil. Bake 1 hour and then remove the top.

Return the rest of the pumpkin to the oven and bake until the top of the cheese is browned and bubbly, about 10 - 15 minutes.  Serve with the rest of the baguette slices.

Next:  Thai Coconut Sticky Rice with Mango
Previously:  My Mom's Pi Jiu Ya (Beer-Braised Duck)
Last year:  Pretzel Ice Cream Pie with Homemade Magic Shell
Four years ago:  Apple-Pear-Cranberry Crisp

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