Tuesday, October 25, 2011

[Y Kant Nikki Cook] Roasted Pumpkin Fondue

All photos by Nicole Rupersburg.

It's fall and it's almost Halloween (let's just go ahead and state the obvious, which is that this is the BEST time of the year), so this week we're ditching the Hot List and Feature sections and instead bringing you all easy and unique fall-themed recipes using some of our favorite ingredients (like pumpkin, and cheese) as part of our brand-new Y Kant Nikki Cook section (read more about it here). We're going to launch it with something that is near and dear to our hearts: a roasted pumpkin stuffed with Swiss cheese fondue. Serve this at your Halloween party instead of boring old spinach artichoke dip!

1 large baguette (about 15 inches cut into 1/2-inch slices)
7-lb pumpkin (medium-sized and thoroughly washed)
1-1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup vegetable broth (or reduced sodium chicken broth)
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2-1/2 cup gruyere cheese (coarsely grated)
2-1/2 cup emmental cheese (coarsely grated)
1 tablespoon olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 450°F; use bottom rack.
2. Toast baguette slices in 1 layer on a baking sheet in oven until tops are crisp, about 7 minutes. Let cool.
3. Remove top of pumpkin by cutting a circle around stem with a small sharp knife. Scrape out seeds and any loose fibers from inside pumpkin with a spoon (including top of pumpkin; roast seeds with olive oil and sea salt for another quick party snack). Season inside of pumpkin with 1/2 teaspoon salt.
4. Whisk together cream, broth, nutmeg, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Mix together cheeses in a large bowl.

5. 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.)
6. Cover pumpkin with top and put in an oiled small roasting pan. Brush outside of pumpkin all over with olive oil. Bake at 450°F until pumpkin is tender and filling is puffed, 75-90 minutes.
7. Cut wedges through directly the skin of the pumpkin and serve with more toasted baguette slices (everything but the pumpkin skin itself is pretty mushy, but the roasted pumpkin flesh and cheese concoction is a great topper for toast points).

This is why I don't do this.
After four long hours of fighting with a flimsy pumpkin carving knife (they don't make them like they used to), having to stop mid-way to run back to the store for more heavy cream after discovering the one I bought last week was curdled, then spending almost 45 minutes doing dishes in my tiny studio apartment sink with no dishwasher, I was reminded of all the reasons why I "can't" cook. I spent the last hour thinking of all the other things I could be doing and how that block of emmental paired with the baguette is just a fine and dandy meal all on its own with blessedly no prep and no clean-up. Now I have 7 pounds of cheese-stuffed pumpkin jammed in the fridge between all the beer.

For more photos, check out the "Y Kant Nikki Cook" album on our Facebook page.