It’s a virtual pumpkin partaaaay people! Remember last year’s soiree where recipes with alllll the pumpkins were shared at epic proportions? Well it’s back and it’s bigger than ever. Sara of Cake Over Steak and Aimee from Twigg Studios have brought together a giant group of bloggers to get exceedingly pumpkin-y up in here.
See last year’s Pumpkin Ale Cake Recipe
Believe it or not, I’ve never cooked or baked with a whole pumpkin before—I’ve always defaulted to canned pumpkin puree because it’s generally easier and more cost effective in pie-land. But I wanted to make something different and step outside of my sweet comfort zone. So I went savory and cheesy and everything else wonderful in a pumpkin package. This recipe is seriously the only thing you need for cozy feelings with your closest friends this fall. We all know how much I’m obsessed with this time of year, and this recipe turned the season up to 11. (That’s when you know it’s good)
The only problem was…how do I work with a pumpkin? A huge jack-o-lantern can’t possibly taste good, can it? Hmmmm….
Pumpkins are a group of plants that branch off from the squash. They are the typical orange thick-shelled, pulpy, seedy, fleshy things we love to pick in the fall at the neighborhood pumpkin patch. Hay rides and all. Pumpkins are native to North America which explains why they’re so popular for capping off the annual Thanksgiving meal.
Fun fact: the orange color on the outside of the pumpkin is caused by carotenoid pigments!
Large pumpkins you carve for Halloween are selectively cultivated so that they are bigger which tends to yield pumpkins that harbor a bunch more water in their flesh. This makes them ideal for carving, but not the best flavor-producer for your fall treats.
Sugar pumpkins are smaller, about 6-8 inches in diameter. They have smoother, sweeter flesh because there is less water per square inch which concentrates the inherent flavor of the pumpkin. Additionally, because these pumpkins are used to produce sweet purees for pies and cakes, the sweeter sugar pumpkins can be selected for and cultivated. That is why you definitely want a sugar pumpkin for all of your from-scratch baking. But also a kick-butt cheese fondue stuffed roasted pumpkin! Nobody wants stringy, watery pumpkin treats.
And that pretty much does it folks! Sugar pumpkins for the win! This recipe couldn’t be easier, and it feels so fun to make and get autumn-level cozy. Serve alongside a pumpkin beer and some delicious pumpkin seeds (see bonus recipe below), and you’ve got yourself an ideal get together.
Don’t forget to check out the rest of the virtual pumpkin party recipes at the links below the recipes!
Cheese Fondue Stuffed Roasted Pumpkin
Adapted from Food52
1 sugar pumpkin, about 3 ½-4 pounds
3 ½ ounces hard Swiss cheese (such as Emmental), coarsely grated
3 ounces gruyere cheese, coarse cheese
1 cup heavy cream
¼ teaspoon cumin
A pinch nutmeg
- Preheat oven to 450⁰F with rack on the lower third of the oven.
- Slice the baguette into ½ inch slices. Set half of these aside. Cut the other half of the slices into ½ inch cubes. On a parchment-covered sheet pan, evenly space the bread cubes. Bake in the oven, drying the cubes out, for about 7 minutes. You don’t want to brown the cubes, but you want them to be crisp. Set aside to cool. Leave the oven on.
- Use a sharp knife to cut the top of the sugar pumpkin off—in a circumference of about 1 ½ to 2 inches from the stem all the way around. Scrape out the fibers and seeds. Set the seeds aside if you wish to make pumpkin seeds (recipe below).
- Season the inside of the pumpkin with salt and drizzles of honey. Whisk together the heavy cream, cumin, nutmeg, ½ teaspoon of salt, and several substantial cracks of black pepper (at least ¼ teaspoon).
- Put a third of the bread crumbs in the bottom of the pumpkin. Cover with a big handful of the cheese and a third of the cream mixture. Drizzle with honey over the top. Continue to layer until your pumpkin is full or you’re out of bread/cheese/cream.
- Put the top back on the pumpkin and put in an oiled small roasting pan or Dutch oven. Brush the pumpkin all over with olive oil on the outside. Bake in the oven for 1 hour.
- After the 1 hour is up, remove the top of the pumpkin. Return the rest of the pumpkin to the oven and bake until the cheese is browned and bubbly, about 15 minutes. Serve with the baguette slices from step 2.
Onion-y, Paprika-y Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Seeds from one small pumpkin, rinsed and patted dry
- Preheat oven to 350⁰F. Cover a sheet pan with parchment paper. Sprinkle the seeds evenly on top of the parchment-covered sheet pan.
- Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle liberally with salt, pepper, onion powder, and paprika. Toss a bit to coat evenly.
- Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, until toasted. Store in an airtight container if not eating/using right away.
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