Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall / The River Cottage Cookbook's version:
our version:volCAKEno. All you need to to do is chop off the top, scoop out the innards (reserve seeds for a forthcoming mini post from Matthew), and fill the empty pumpkin bowls with health food.
Are half and half, butter, and Gruyere considered health food? If not, I may have given bad information a moment ago.
Autumnal decadence achieved! Happy Halloween!
Whole Pumpkin Baked with Cream
Recipe (slightly) adapted from The River Cottage Cookbook
1 medium (1 1/2 to 2 pound) pumpkin or several small ones or squashes (1 per person)
Up to 1 pound Gruyere cheese, shredded (depending on the size of your pumpkin)
Up to 4 cups half and half (again depending on the size of your pumpkin)
Freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and Freshly ground black pepper
3 cloves garlic minced
¼ lb stale bread, torn or cut into chunks
1 tablespoon butter
Slice the top off the pumpkin or squashes three-quarters of the way up and retain; this is your lid. Scoop out all the seeds and surrounding fibers from the pumpkin.
Place the scooped-out pumpkin on a baking tray or in an ovenproof dish (which must have sides to catch any leaking cream - an accident that shouldn't, but can, happen).
Put enough grated Gruyere into the empty cavity of the pumpkin to fill about a third of it, then pour in the half and half until the cavity is two-thirds full.
Add the minced garlic, bread, few gratings of nutmeg, a little salt (about 1/2 teaspoon or more per mini pumpkin) and plenty of black pepper (at least 1/4 teaspoon for mini pumpkins). Throw in a bit of butter and replace the lid, so the pumpkin is whole again.
Place in a fairly hot oven (375°F) and cook for 45 minutes-1 1/4 hours, depending on the size of the pumpkin. Test for doneness by removing the lid and poking at the flesh from the inside. It should be nice and tender.
At this point, the skin may be lightly burnt and the whole thing just beginning to sag a bit. Be wary: when the pumpkin is completely soft and cooked through, there is a real danger of collapse.
The larger the pumpkin, the bigger the danger. Don't panic if it happens. It will look a bit deflated but will still taste delicious.
Serve small squashes individually in bowls, with spoons to scoop out the flesh. Serve the larger pumpkin by scooping plenty of flesh and the creamy, cheesy liquid (the Gruyere comes out in lovely long, messy strings) into warmed soup bowls. Either way, serve piping hot.