Fondue in a Pumpkin
This was fun to make and serve on Halloween night, but it would also make for a festive fall or holiday appetizer. The oozing cheese and cream make for a very rich dish, so a crisp green salad complements it perfectly. I served it with Insalada del Campo, a perennial favorite at Delfina Restaurant in San Francisco. Delfina’s owner and chef Craig Stoll generously shared it in the San Francisco Chronicle. The pumpkin recipe is from my most recent issue of Gourmet. Here it is.
- 1 (15-inch) piece of baguette, cut into 1/2-inch slices (7 oz total)
1 (7-lb) orange pumpkin
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon organic ground nutmeg
2 1/2 cups coarsely grated Gruyère (6 oz)
2 1/2 cups coarsely grated Emmental (6 oz)
1 tablespoon olive oil
- Preheat oven to 450°F with rack in lower third.
- 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 (3 inches in diameter) around 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 inside of pumpkin with 1/2 tsp 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.
Cooks’ note: Pumpkin can be filled 2 hours before baking and chilled
My Note: I made two, using little sugar pumpkins, and served one for Halloween, re-heating the other for an appetizer the next night. While still good, it had dried out somewhat in the referigerator and was not as oozy and melty.