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Pumpkin Soup

1 small (4 to 5 lb.) pumpkin
2 c. toasted croutons
1 1/2 c. Gruyere cheese
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. white pepper
2 c. half and half cream

Cut a lid about 5-inches in diameter from stem end of pumpkin. Save the lid. Remove and discard seeds and membranes from pumpkin. Heat oven to 350 degrees. In the pumpkin, layer 3/4 cup croutons followed by 3/4 cup cheese. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Repeat croutons, cheese and seasoning, layering with remaining quantities. Pour cream over mixture in pumpkin. Replace lid and set pumpkin in a 10-inch pie plate. Bake until pumpkin is tender, about 2 hours.

To serve, scrape soft pumpkin gently from sides of shell and combine with crouton mixture. Makes 8 to 10 (1/2-cup) servings.

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