Start your Halloween party with this easy, cheesy, stuffed pumpkin appetizer. The pumpkin is filled with Gruyere, Parmesan, toasted bread, and a creamy mixture with garlic, fresh sage, and cognac. Then baked in the oven, the pumpkin serves as a serving dish as well as the walls get scraped into the delicious baked dip served on toasted baguette.
1 baguette, cut into ⅜“ slices
2 tablespoons melted butter
3-lb. Pie pumpkin
1 ¼ cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons cognac
¾ cup salt-free chicken stock
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup grated Parmesan
1 cup grated Gruyere
Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.
Brush one side of the baguette slices with melted butter and top with a pinch of salt. Toast baguette slices in one layer on a baking sheet in oven until lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Remove and set aside. When cooled, cut 6-7 slices into cubes. Set aside and save the remaining slices to serve with the pumpkin.
Using a knife, cut around pumpkin stem to make a lid and remove the top. Scrape out seeds and any loose fibers from inside the pumpkin. Lightly salt the inside of the pumpkin. Place pumpkin on a foil-lined sheet pan. Brush outside of pumpkin and lid all over with olive oil.
Whisk together the cream, cognac, stock, pepper, sage, garlic cloves and ½ teaspoon of salt in a small bowl. Combine the cheeses together in another medium bowl.
Start with a layer of the toasted and cubed baguette by adding ⅓ to the bottom of pumpkin, cover with ⅓ of the cheese. Continue layering the bread and cheese two more times. Whisk the cream mixture one more time, then pour into the pumpkin, stopping frequently to allow the cream mixture to soak in, until pumpkin is filled to within about ½” to the top. You may not use all the cream mixture, discard any remaining cream mixture.
Cover pumpkin with its top. Place in the oven and bake until pumpkin is tender and filling is puffy, 55-60 minutes. To serve, scoop out some of the flesh with the cheesy filling on to the remaining baguette slices.