How to Stuff a Pumpkin

October 11, 2016


Swiss Pumpkin

I originally called this pumpkin soup, but it’s really a gratin baked right inside the pumpkin. I was 21 when I developed the recipe, and oblivious to richness so I used nothing but cream. Today I mix the cream with chicken broth (about a cup of cream and a cup of broth). You could also use milk. It’s STILL pretty much of a heart-stopper but it’s irresistible. 

Go out and buy a fairly small pumpkin (about 4 pounds) with a flat bottom. Cut off the top, as if you were going to carve a jack-o-lantern, and hollow it out. Spread the seeds out and dry them to eat later.

Now get a good loaf of French bread, cube it, put the cubes on a baking sheet and toast them lightly in a 350 degree oven for about 9 minutes.  Leave the oven on.

Grate a good amount of one of the Swiss cheeses – Emmenthaler, Gruyere or Appenzeller (you’ll need about 12 ounces). Layer the bread and cheese inside the pumpkin until it’s almost full (leave a half inch on the top because the filling will expand a bit).

Mix 1 cup of chicken stock into a cup of cream. Add a teaspoon of salt. Grind in some black pepper and grate in some nutmeg. Then fill the pumpkin almost to the top with as much of this mixture as you need, replace the top of the pumpkin, brush the outside with neutral oil, set it on a baking sheet, and bake for about 2 hours.

Bring the whole pumpkin to the table. When you serve it be sure to scoop out the pumpkin flesh with the cheese and the cream.

Serves 4

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  • This looks rich and so good. On TV I saw Daniel Boulud’s father prepare a similar recipe on his farm near Lyon.

  • Celia Regan says:

    This is one of my all-time favorite recipes – Ruth, first heard you describe it on Leonard Lopate’s radio show a few years ago. It is INCREDIBLE. If you can, buy a couple of small pumpkins now, folks, and keep them in the fridge, as they tend to disappear after Halloween, and you will want to make this for Thanksgiving, Christmas – everything!

  • MmmYarn says:

    Oh, this sounds tasty! I plan to make it when the first pumpkins show up at the farmers’ market. Thank you for posting!

  • CG Nussbaum says:

    What kind of pumpkin? A regular one for carving?

  • Lara Starr says:

    This has become a tradition for my Book Club every November – ever since we first read it in your book years ago. It is indeed a heart stopper – and a show stopper! Thank you so much for creating this deliciousness!

  • Alicia says:

    I make this every Christmas Eve. So yummy, and usually tons of leftovers which we turn into delicious soup and keep in the freezer for some wintry day when a quick, warming and comforting meal is the order of the day.

  • Lara Starr says:

    I first made this for my book club when we read “Tender at the Bone” around 10 years ago and have been making for the November food-themed-book meeting every year since. It’s sooo delicious, easy, comforting, show-offy. I love it and love our tradition. Thank you!