Instead of Jack-o’-lanterns

More than any other season, fall is my favorite time of year. Lots of awesome things happen in the fall: the stifling heat of summer dissipates, I celebrate my birthday, and my boyfriend’s, Halloween, post-Halloween candy sales, the leaves turn colors, Thanksgiving, and the electricity bill goes down. But my favorite part about autumn is, not surprisingly, one of the edible parts: pumpkins!

In the last month or so I’ve been on a pumpkin binge. Pumpkin ale, pumpkin scones, pumpkin butter, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin pie, pumpkin smoothies, pumpkin spiced lattes. If it’s got pumpkin as an ingredient, I want it. Which is why when someone back in San Francisco told me about a delicious recipe for soup made in a pumpkin, I made a mental note to make it as soon as I could in New York.

The main ingredients

With my buddy Vanessa’s help (and the generous use of her kitchen, since I STILL don’t have an apartment in the city) this is how I spent my Friday night. The recipe called for a smallish pumpkin (2 or 3 pounds or about the size of a melon), gruyère or other melting cheese, heavy cream, butter, salt, pepper and nutmeg (or in our case, cinammon since we were sans nutmeg). Lucky for me (because of my less-than-stellar kitchen skills) the recipe was also pretty easy to follow.

Hollow pumpkin full of ingredients, ready for baking

First, we hollowed out the pumpkin, pulling out all the slimy yellow-orange pulp. (Side note: we saved the seeds, which we later rinsed off and toasted separately.) Next, we filled the pumpkin with thick gruyere shavings, heavy whipping cream, a hunk of butter, some salt and pepper, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Then we put the lid back on the pumpkin, sat it in a baking pan and slid it into the oven (heated to 375°).

Post baking

While we had red wine and girl talk, my favorite fall friend was baking slowly in the oven, darkening on the outside and softening on the inside, as the cheese, cream and butter inside simmered and thickened into a gooey, delicious creamy soup.

The delicious end product

It baked for about an hour and a half before we took it out and dug into the hot cheesy goo, without even taking it out of the baking pan. The best part was that the pumpkin itself had softened so much that when we ran our spoons along its inner sides, the warm pumpkin came away easily and mixed with the soupy middle to make for a really thick, chunky delicious thing to eat on a cold autumn Friday night in New York.

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