FOOD: I am going to go out on a limb here and say that this may be my favorite recipe of all time. A bold statement, indeed. Why, you ask? Because it’s equal parts satisfying, indulgent, shareable, and perhaps the easiest thing you’ve ever made. Plus it’s crafted by Ruth Reichl - food editor, esteemed restaurant critic at both the Los Angeles and New York Times newspapers, and former editor of every foodie’s favorite, Gourmet magazine. When thinking of Halloween this year, my plan is to have a couple friends over to cozy up to a beautiful bottle of wine, hand out candy to trick or treaters, and devour forkfuls of this gooey, gratifying fondue that is lit’rally baked into a pumpkin. She calls it a “Swiss pumpkin.” I call it the best f%^ing thing I’ve ever eaten. I cannot imagine a more delicious way to spend this, or any night. As Ruth shares in her most recent cookbook, My Kitchen Year, “The invention of a new recipe does more for mankind than the discovery of a new star.” Cheers to that, Ms. Reichl, and cheers to a most happy Equinox.
One small pumpkin.
One baguette or french loaf.
Half a pound of Gruyere cheese grated of any of the other Swiss style cheeses.
One cup cream.
3/4 cup chicken broth.
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg.
Go out and buy a fairly small pumpkin (about 4 pounds) with a flat bottom.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Carefully cut a 1-inch slice off the top of the pumpkin as if you were going to carve a jack-o-lantern. Reserving the top, scoop out and discard the seeds and strings. (Keep seeds and toast them in the oven later or the next day with salt and pepper!)
Cut the baguette in to 1/4" slices or a french loaf cut into cubes placed on 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. I prefer Gruyere and it is found in Superstore.
Make 3 layers each of the toast and cheese in the pumpkin cavity, alternating layers and ending with cheese.
Whisk together 3/4 cup of chicken stock into a cup of cream, one egg, salt, pepper and nutmeg and slowly pour the mixture into the pumpkin until a half inch on the top because the filling will expand a bit.
Replace the top of the pumpkin and bake on a shallow baking pan in the middle of the oven until the pumpkin is tender, about 2 hours.
Serve by scooping out the pumpkin flesh with the bread and cheese. Serves 4.
Ruth does add, " 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) ", so you can try that as well. Both are delicious!
" 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. "
" 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! "