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Cheese Fondue in a Roasted Pumpkin

This is terrific as a main dish, but works well as an appetizer for a crowd. You can also scale down the recipe if you find a smaller pumpkin and are feeding fewer people. My version departs a bit from the original recipe in that it calls for less cheese, low fat milk instead of heavy cream, and whole grain walnut bread, if you can find it.  Despite the short-cuts in the "richness" department, it remains pretty heavenly.

Course Dinner, Side Dish, Appetizer
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings 6 as a main, 10 as a side dish or heavy appetizer
Calories 370 kcal
Author katiemorford

Ingredients

  • 1 loaf whole wheat walnut levain (or regular levain or other crusty loaf of bread) ,
  • One 5- to 6-pound sugar pie pumpkin
  • 1 1/2 cups low fat milk
  • 1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups coarsely grated Gruyère (7 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F with rack in lower third.
  2. Cut six 1/2-inch thick slices of bread from the thickest part of the loaf, lay on a baking sheet and set in the oven. Bake until lightly toasted on one side, about 7 minutes. Remove from oven, stack the bread slices, and cut into quarters. Set aside.
  3. Remove the top of the pumpkin by cutting a 3-inch circle around the stem with a small sharp knife. Use a spoon to scrape out the seeds and any stringy bits. Save those seeds for toasting if you like.
  4. Whisk together the milk, broth, nutmeg, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
  5. Put a snug layer of toasted bread in the bottom of the pumpkin (about 5 pieces should fit). Then cover with about about 1/2 cup cheese and about 1/2 cup milk mixture. Continue layering the bread, cheese, and milk mixture until the pumpkin is filled to about 1/2 inch from top, using all of the milk mixture. (You may have some bread and cheese left over...mini grilled cheese sandwiches, anyone?)
  6. Cover the pumpkin with the top and put in a small roasting pan. Rub the olive oil over the outside of the pumpkin. Bake until the pumpkin is tender, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours. To check for doneness, lift the top of the pumpkin and pierce the flesh on the body of the pumpkin with a knife. It should ease right in.
  7. Remove from the oven and serve immediately using a large spoon to scoop out the soft pumpkin and cheesy filling into shallow bowls.

Recipe Notes

Note: Pumpkin can be prepared up to two hours before cooking. Adapted from Gourmet Magazine's Roast Pumpkin with Cheese "Fondue"