While this is absolutely sure to impress any winter gathering of friends, it is such a simple thing that it barely counts as a recipe. You can do this with any upright winter squash, so consider kabochas or carnival squashes along with the pumpkins for this elegant yet cozy treatment. Look for smaller baking pumpkins. Larger ones can be delicious, but they risk collapse and can take a long time to bake whole in the oven.
Whole Baked Pumpkin with Cream
- 1 medium (1 ½ to 2 pound) pumpkin or several smaller squashes (1 per person).
- 8 ounces
Gruyere cheese, shredded (maybe up to a pound depending on the size of your pumpkin, but this is a good baseline)
- 2 cups
heavy cream (again, you may need more or less depending on size)
- salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Preheat the oven to 375⁰. Slice the top off the pumpkin ¾ of the way up the top and retain; this is your lid. Scoop out the seeds and superficial fibers from the pumpkin. Place the pumpkin on a baking sheet or in a baking dish.
- Put enough shredded Gruyere into the empty cavity of the pumpkin to fill about a third of it, then pour in the cream until the cavity is two-thirds full. Add a generous pinch of nutmeg, a bit of salt and pepper. Throw in the butter and then top with your pumpkin lid so the pumpkin is whole again.
- Cook for 45 minutes to 1 ½ hours depending on the pumpkin. Test for doneness by removing the lid and poking the flesh from the inside. It should be quite tender. The skin may be slightly burnt and just beginning to sag.
- Serve whole and scoop out plenty of flesh with the creamy cheesy liquid into soup bowls.