Autumn is a time of year when the shops seem to be full of pumpkins – but sadly most are destined to make ‘pumpkin lanterns’ for Halloween rather than be eaten. Well here is a really simple autumn alternative and would be perfect for any Halloween or perhaps Bonfire celebrations before the real onset of winter!
This is a really simple dish and will lend itself to lots of variation – We have used a standard British style cheese fondue mix of grated Cheddar and Emmental cheeses, together with some single cream and beer – though it would also work really well with a dry cider. The other variation we used was adding chunks of Sourdough Bread to the cheese mix allowing it to absorb the cheesy flavours, and encourage those eating it to dig away at the cooked pumpkin at the same time as taking the cheese-bread mix. The one word of warning I would give is to get a small pumpkin or you will spend forever filling it with cheese!
The seeds and the loose stringy inside were first removed (don’t throw the seeds away as if you wash the stringy material off them they roast rather nicely). The Sourdough bread was then torn into large chunks (ideally do not choose sliced sourdough if you are using a shop bought loaf) and add a layer to the bottom of the pumpkin. To this add some of the grated Cheddar and Emmental mix. Mix the single cream and the beer in a large jug and add a little grated nutmeg, a crushed and chopped garlic clove and some salt and pepper and mix well. Pour some of this over the top of the cheese and bread and then repeat with further layers until the pumpkin is at least two thirds, but not completely full. The Big Green Egg should be set up in indirect cooking mode with the platesetter in place and the feet upright. We worked with a target temperature of around 130C and added a little cherry wood to give a gentle smokiness. A small pumpkin should just fit in a MiniMax though you may need to be careful with its position because of the temperature probe. Ours was a bit larger and needed our large BGE and we sat it in a shallow roasting tin to make sure it didn’t leak and could be brought easily to the table. As the cooking progressed the pumpkin took on a delightful chestnut colour and shrank in size slightly (the reason not to fill completely). It took around 90 mins for the pumpkin to soften enough to be able to spoon the flesh from the skin. The vents were closed a little before this and the Pumpkin kept warm in the slowly cooling EGG until we were ready to eat. Now as with most Fondue there is an element of “double dipping” that can occur when eating the fondue, especially as the bread was already incorporated. If this concerns you and you are not just sharing with your ‘nearest and dearest’ then use a serving spoon to spoon out portions onto individual plates.
And what about the seeds? Simply separate them from the stringy interior and wash them off. Dry on some kitchen towel and lightly moisten with olive oil. Sit in a ceramic dish on the EGG until toasty brown, allow to cool and salt lightly, great with a cold continental beer!
There are loads of potential variations – different cheeses, different alcohols, smoked sausage, lardon ………………
…………………………………………………….in fact the world is your …. pumpkin!
……………………………go on, give it a go!!
Cheese and sourdough bread Fondue in a pumpkin pot
Cheese and sourdough bread Fondue in a cooked pumpkin pot
- Pumpkin 1.5kg
- Single cream 200ml
- Continental beer 250ml
- Garlic clove crushed and chopped
- 100g grated Emmental
- 100g grated Cheddar
- Thick slices stale sourdough bread ripped into chunks
- Step 1 Cut round the top of the pumpkin at around 45 degrees to make a replaceable lid. Remove the seeds and the loose stringy inside (don’t throw the seeds away as they can be toasted later).
- Step 2 Tear the Sourdough bread into large chunks and add a layer to the bottom of the pumpkin. To this add some of the grated Cheddar and Emmental mix.
- Step 3 Mix the single cream and the beer in a large jug and add a little grated nutmeg, a crushed and chopped garlic clove and some salt and pepper and mix well. Pour some of this over the top of the cheese and bread and then repeat with further layers until the pumpkin is at least two thirds, but not completely full. Finish off with a layer of grated cheese and some extra grated nutmeg.
- Step 4 Set up the Big Green Egg for indirect cooking with the platesetter in place and the feet upright. Add a little smoking wood and set the temperature to around 140C. Sit the Pumpkin in a shallow roasting tin and put on the BGE.
- Step 5 After around 90 mins the pumpkin will have softened enough to be able to spoon the flesh from the skin.
- Step 6 Serve with a little more crusty bread and dig out the bread-cheese-pumpkin mix with a spoon and fork