One thing that can go wrong with baked whole pumpkins is incinerating it into mush. Filled with cream and Gruyère cheese, you’ll know when the pumpkin is overcooked. It will likely collapse into a deflated mound of white and orange laced with strings of melted Gruyère. The semi-successful dish will still be delicious, as long as the cream spills into a baking dish instead of the oven floor.
That’s my long-winded way of saying that you can’t mess this non-recipe up.
The pumpkin top is sliced off to serve as its own lid and the structural integrity of the baked pumpkin depends on the carving method. Instead of cutting off the tops horizontally in one stroke, use a narrow pointed knife and slice around the stem at a 45 degree angle. Just don’t forget to watch those fingers.
recipe adapted from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Cookbook
Monthly Mingle: Sensational Sides hosted by Ruth’s Kitchen Experiments
Whole Pumpkin Baked with Cream and Gruyère Cheese
makes 4 to 6 servings
a pumpkin weighing about 2 pounds
Gruyère cheese or any melting cheese, up to 1 pound
a few cups of cream
Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
a knob of butter
- A 2-pound pumpkin is about the same size as a cantaloupe.
- Use smaller individual-sized pumpkins and adjust the baking time accordingly.
- Don’t throw away the pumpkin seeds. Rinse off the pulp and spread out the pumpkin seeds on a half sheet pan in a single layer . Bake along with the filled pumpkin for about 30 minutes, or until browned and crispy. Toasted pumpkin seeds can be eaten whole.
Preheat the oven to 375ºF/191ºC.
Using a narrow pointed knife, slice around the stem of the pumpkin at a 45-degree angle. Scoop out pulp and seeds. Fill the pumpkin with grated Gruyère cheese until about a third full.
Fill the pumpkin with cream until about two-thirds full. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Throw in a knob of butter, because we all know that pumpkins and butter always pair well.
Replace the pumpkin top. The filled pumpkin is now ready to bake.
Bake at 375ºF/191ºC for about 45 minutes to 1 1/4 hours, until tender and spoonable. Check the pumpkins for doneness by removing the lid and poking it with a knife or skewer.
Scoop out the pumpkin flesh with the cream and cheese into warmed soup bowls. Serve piping hot.
Witch’s brew, now with 400% more calories!