Here's a friendly little pumpkin.
Easier than carving a Jack-O-Lantern, this gourd can be turned into a mini fondue.
Just hollow him out, stuff him with bread and cheese, top him up with liquid, then bake until melty.
There are many pumpkin fondue recipes online—some pumpkins are stuffed with just cheese and become mini fondues for bread to be dipped in, and others, like this one, add the bread already, making a kind of pumpkin casserole inside—the original recipe seemingly comes from Gourmet magazine (whose recipes appear online at Epicurious) all the way back in 2008.
a small cooking pumpkin or pumpkin-shaped squash
wine, stock, or milk (or a mixture, see below)
nutmeg, salt and pepper
Preheat your oven to 200 C / 400 F / gas mark 6.
Cut open your pumpkin and scoop out its innards (you can roast the seeds alongside your pumpkin, if you are so inclined).
Place your pumpkin in an oven proof dish (you will likely serve from this dish, as it is hard to move once it is baked through).
Stuff a layer of cubed bread into the bottom of the pumpkin.
Top with a layer of cheese roughly the same height as the bread layer. Repeat until you're almost at the top.
Pour your liquid into a large measuring cup and season with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Pour into the pumpkin until it covers the bread and cheese.
Bake in the oven for at least an hour, or until the pumpkin flesh is cooked through (you can poke it with a paring knife to see if it is soft).
Scoop out, making sure to scrape out some pumpkin along the sides too.
- I have included no quantities for the bread, cheese and liquid, as this will vary wildly based on the size of your pumpkin. (I overestimated how much bread and cheese I needed—so I was forced to make a cheesy casserole the next day for lunch. If you can't bear so many cheese meals, cut and grate as you go.)
- I used a mix of Gruyère and Vacherin Fribourgeois cheese, just like in a typical fondue, but probably any mix of hard cheeses will taste delicious.
- As for the liquid, a mix of milk and stock is nice or, for a more authentic fondue flavour, you can use stock and wine...or just wine.
- Baking times will vary wildly based on the size of the pumpkin. It will be about an hour, even for a small gourd. The outside of the pumpkin will start to darken and black patches will form—this is a good indication that it is done.