Tastē Tuesday: Once each fall we create a festive, warm, and cheesy dining event: Roast Pumpkin with Cheese Fondue. I meant to photo document the entire process, but my husband prepared the meal with a friend while us girls lingered on the couch. When the delectable, consumable center pieces were on the table, I realized there were no pictures, so just a quick snap shot of the finished product is shown.
We are big fondue fans, and this dish elevates a normal cheese fondue into something spectacular. Served inside a roasted pumpkin, not only do you get to enjoy scrumptious melted cheese and a seasonal squash, but it also decorates the table reminding you to be thankful for the friends/family you are enjoying your meal with and the warm comforts of home and food. Make sure when you scoop some gooey cheese and bread out of the pumpkin to also scoop some tender pumpkin onto your plate as well.
Adapted from Gourmet, November 2008
Serves 4 (Main Course)
Active Time: 25 minutes, Start to Finish: 2 hours
1 (15-inch) baguette, cut into 1/2" slices
1 (8 pound) or 2 (4 pound) orange pie pumpkins
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt + some for seasoning
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
2 1/2 cups coarsely grated Gruyere (6 ounces)
2 1/2 cups coarsely grated Emmental (6 ounces)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Preheat oven to 450 degrees with rack in lower third of oven. Toast baguette slices in 1 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. Scrape out seeds and any loose fibers from inside pumpkin with a spoon (including top of pumpkin). Season inside of pumpkin well with salt.
Whisk together cream, broth, nutmeg, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper in a bowl. Mix together cheeses in another bowl.
Put a layer of toasted bread in bottom of pumpkin, then cover with about 1 cup cheese and about 1/2 cup cream mixture. Continue layering bread, cheese, and cream mixture until pumpkin is filled to about 1/2 inch from top, using all of cream mixture. (You may have some bread and cheese left over.)
Cover pumpkin with top and put in an oiled small roasting pan. Brush outside of pumpkin all over with olive oil. Bake until pumpkin is tender and filling is puffed, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours.
Serve with large chunks of granny smith apples and mini dill pickles.
**Note: Pumpkin can be filled 2 hours before baking and chilled. This recipe halves well if you only want to make one 4 lb pumpkin for two or as an appetizer for a larger party.