I asked myself, “Self, what’s the worst that could happen?…Maybe, that I’d be out the $3.00 I spent on the pumpkin at the farm? Plus, I’m doing this all in the name of research for my fellow Recipe Reduxers…Right?” So I did it. I opened the oven door and stuck the entire 11-inch diameter sugar pumpkin, uncut, stem-and-all in the oven and closed the door!
When I opened the oven door 1 hour and 20 minutes later, nothing had exploded. Seeds and pumpkin guts were not covering the inside of the oven walls. The stem was not black and neither was the pumpkin flesh. (I had expected one of these scenarios might have occurred.) Instead, when I cut open the top and pulled up the ‘lid’ still stuck with seeds, the inside revealed a perfect evenly cooked interior. And the outside was a deep golden orange that would display as a perfect serving vessel.
Now, this little experiment was not entered into without some prior research. I consulted a few cookbooks for pumpkin soups served in the pumpkin shell. Nothing. Searching online for any “recipe in pumpkin shell” and yielded a few recipes similar to this delicious-looking whole pumpkin apple casserole. But I wanted something savory and cheesy like a gratin or strata. I also found this amazing-looking Pumpkin and Cabot Habanero Cheddar Soufflés recipe to add to my To-Try file. But no whole-pumpkin strata. In the end, it was the Cabot recipe that gave me a hint that cooking a whole pumpkin might not burn down the house – but I wasn’t positive, since the soufflé recipe uses mini pumpkins and my sugar pumpkin was a whopping 11 inches in diameter!