Creamy Gruyere Pumpkin Gratin (RR)



As many of you know, Monday brought some very sad news to both the magazine industry and the food world – both of which are clearly important to me. Publishing conglomerate Conde Nast made the very hard but important decision to close four of their titles, as well as requiring the rest to submit budget overhauls coming in at 25% under current costs. Read more from the Times here. As hard as it is for me to imagine Anna Wintour sitting down to go over budgets, it’s harder for me to imagine a (food) world without Ruth Reichl and Gourmet magazine. You see, Gourmet is one of the four titles that has been closed (along with Cookie, Modern Bride, and Elegant Bride). This November’s issue will be the last Gourmet to hit the stands. As you can imagine, the food world is reeling. It’s a sad week indeed.

Working for a magazine, I’ve learned what it takes to put out a book every month. Not only editorially, but cost-wise. Every magazine on the planet has taken huge hits over the last year. Ours included. But somehow we like to think that the big, important magazines, like Gourmet with its 68-year run, will always be around. Not so. Ad sales are ad sales, and that is what pays the bills, no matter how many subscriptions are purchased or newsstand copies sold. That’s a drop in the bucket. Magazines survive on advertising. So if the media buyer from Frigidaire or Barilla Pasta thinks that more Bon Appetit readers will buy his product than Gourmet readers, Bon Appetit will get the sale. Which is apparently how it’s going because B.A. is still around and was saved from the chopping block thus far.

We can all hope that Ruth Reichl will be called upon by some other media group or publication and we can all continue to follow her vision elsewhere. For now, the food world mourns.


How timely, then, that I post an enduring recipe that started way back when Reichl was in her 20s, as a fall/halloween treat for herself and friends, and made it into both Tender at the Bone, and Comfort Me With Apples. First, as a quick mention (“gratin”), and then as an actual recipe (“soup”). Last but not least, it made it into Gourmet in the fall of ’08 as “fondue“. Whatever you call it, it’s rich, creamy, delicious, and perfect for fall. Not to mention a wonderfully creative dish that makes an impression when served whole.

Creamy Gruyere Pumpkin Gratin (adapted from Ruth Reichl and Gourmet magazine, serves 2)
1 Sugar Pumpkin, 2-3 lbs
1/2 – 1 cup Coarsely Grated Gruyere cheese
1/2 – 1 cup Cubed Bread from a toasted baguette (see photo)
3/4 cup Chicken Broth
3/4 cup Cream (I used half & half)
1 tsp Nutmeg
Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 450 (make sure the rack is low enough so that the pumpkin fits in the oven, including the stem). Cut the top off the pumpkin, like you would to carve it – aim for a 3 inch hole. Scoop out the seeds (reserve for a snack… that post is coming tomorrow), and the pulp and season the inside with salt and pepper. Layer the cheese and bread inside. Whisk together the broth, cream, nutmeg and some more S&P in a bowl, and pour over the cheese and bread, allowing it to absorb. Leave 1/2 – 3/4 inch at the top.


Replace the top of the pumpkin, and place in a greased baking dish. Brush the outside with olive oil, and bake at 450 for 45 minutes – 1 hour, or until the pumpkin flesh is tender enough to scoop. Serve from the pumpkin, along with toast, and scoop out chunks of pumpkin with the fondue.


16 Responses to “Creamy Gruyere Pumpkin Gratin (RR)”

  1. 1 vintagemamasew

    Ohh that’s sad indeed. We don’t have cable, and I have little patience for reading the news online…I had no idea. Very sad. Thanks for featuring a tribute meal. It looks wonderful and yummy…I’ll be sure to try it soon.

  2. 2 oneordinaryday

    Looks wonderful and I love the presentation.

  3. Looks wonderful and I love the presentation.
    P.S. – Sorry, forgot to tell you great post!

  4. I too am sort of left dumbfounded at the news. Even though I know any print media could go at any time. Thanks for the lovely tribute recipe. I can’t wait to try it and toast Gourmet and Reichl.

  5. This has been a year like no other in the publishing world—book sales are down, bookstores are buying less, projects are delayed…
    This little Pumpkin Gratin is a warm, and wonderful tribute to Ruth and the loss of Gourmet–and a fun treat to celebrate the beginning of autumn.

  6. This looks great! I am a new visitor…..Beautiful pictures and great recipes.

  7. 7 Martha Shea

    Going to try this recipe this weekend. Heard about the recipe while listening to
    Fresh Air on NPR, the Terry Gross interview of Ruth Reichl.

  8. 8 katemotter

    Thank you all for your wonderful comments and compliments – it’s a sad thing indeed.

    Martha – I sat peeling apples in the kitchen last night listening to that interview and almost dropped the apple I was peeling when Ruth started talking about it! It really is a great recipe. Easy and delish! I want to try the garlic pork shoulder and the chicken with the 4 C’s she mentioned too (chili, cumin, coriander, and cinnamon)!

    Good luck to all of you who try this recipe at home – you won’t be disappointed!

  9. Ah RIP Gourmet. This looks awesome, definitely making this this fall.

  10. Thank you for all the inspiration – I just found your site and am finding all kinds of things I want to try. I will often make a think soup or stew and serve it in a pumpkin at some point in the fall – but no longer. I love how simple this preparation is, while still having the roasted pumpkin and really looks great. Thanks!

  11. 13 Laura

    Thank you so much for posting this recipe! I’m not a big foodie, but when I heard Ruth Reichl describe this in her Fresh Air interview with Terry Gross, my mouth started watering! I’ve been scouring the internet for it ever since.

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