When our friend Barb throws a party, she goes all out. This pumpkin tureen was one of many courses she served for our friend Lorraine’s birthday dinner. We finished the evening with generous slices of the dessert I’d made, Paula’s Brown Sugar Cheesecake, then sat around with grins, rubbing our bellies.
From left to right are David (Lorraine’s husband), Barb, Lorraine (birthday girl!), me, my Keith, and Tom (Barb’s husband and fellow chef). Lily, Barb and Tom’s daughter was there for the celebration; she took this photo.
And I have to show you one more photo of Barb because I love it. Tom snapped it, Barb unaware, at Rockefeller Center in New York last month.
Barb made the tureen as one large pumpkin that we scooped from, which was lots of fun and more of a ‘family style’ approach. I decided to make individual tureens – the photo below shows the size I picked, a bit larger than an orange.
To make the tureen, as Barb puts it, you “prepare the pumpkin as though you were going to make a jack-o-lantern and stop where you would normally make the face.” It’s very simple to assemble, then you just bake it within an inch of its life and devour. Be sure to bake the pumpkins in a baking dish, because they’ll sputter and drip and make a mess of your oven if they’re directly on a rack.
- 1 small pumpkin, about softball size
- 1½ ounce slice of whole wheat sourdough, rye, or other peasant style loaf cut into 1-inch cubes
- ½ cup milk
- 1 tablespoon minced onion
- ¼ teaspoon horseradish
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- dash each of cayenne pepper, nutmeg, and freshly ground black pepper
- ¾ ounce grated Gruyere cheese (or Swiss)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Cut a lid from the pumpkin, a couple of inches from the stem all the way around. Take care to leave an angle so the cap will sit on top and not fall through.
- Scoop out seeds and membrane from inside the pumpkin, I find a toothed grapefruit spoon works wonders for this. Discard the seeds or clean and roast them in oil and salt for a snack.
- Rub the pumpkin cavity with butter and season lightly with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Fill cavity with bread cubes. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine the milk, onion, horseradish, and seasonings; stir to combine.
- Pour milk mixture over bread in pumpkin cavity. Top with grated cheese, smashing it down a bit so it sinks below the lid line.
- Replace lid and place pumpkin(s) in glass baking dish.
- Bake 1½ hours or until the outside of the pumpkin has browned slightly and interior flesh is soft.
- Eat by scraping some of the pumpkin’s flesh along with the savory bread pudding in each bite.