Forget the fondue pot. This fondue bakes right in the pumpkin.
- 3 to 4 cups whole wheat or whole grain bread chunks
- 1 4-pound pumpkin
- 3/4 cup half and half
- 1/2 cup rich chicken stock
- 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 1 1/4 cups grated Swiss or Gruyere cheese
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the top off the pumpkin and remove the stringy pulp and seeds. Combine the half and half, chicken stock and grated nutmeg in a small bowl.
To assemble, place a layer of bread chunks inside the pumpkin. Add 1/3 of the cheese and 1/3 of the liquid. Repeat with two more layers, pressing and compacting the ingredients in the pumpkin shell. Place the top back on the pumpkin and brush the outside of the shell with the olive oil. Let sit for one hour to allow the bread to soak in the liquid. (This also can be made a few hours in advance and refrigerated.)
Place the pumpkin in a baking dish or on a sturdy baking tray to catch any drips. Place in the oven for about an hour, more or less time depending on the size and thickness of the pumpkin. If the pumpkin gets too charred for your liking, reduce the heat to 350 degrees.
The pumpkin fondue is done when the pulp on the inside is soft, buttery and scoop-able yet the shell is still intact.
Before serving, grate additional nutmeg over the fondue. Scoop out portions with a large spoon into small bowls, making sure to get some of the pulp.
Makes 8 to 10 appetizer servings.