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Julia Child’s Pumpkin Soup in a Pumpkin

 

1 half of a baguette, plain or whole grain; cut into cubes
1 (7-pound) pie pumpkin, such as Sugar; washed and dried
1 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 8-ounce container crème fraîche
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg (make sure it smells fresh)
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
12 ounces imported Gruyere cheese, shredded
1 bay leafHeat your oven to 425 degrees.
Spread the bread cubes on a baking sheet and toast in the oven about 8 minutes.
Using a sharp, small knife, cut out a 3 or 4 –inch circle from around the pumpkin stem and set it aside. Scrape out the seeds and loose stringy bits using a large metal spoon or your hands.

Put the pumpkin in a roasting pan and sprinkle ½ teaspoon salt inside.  Arrange a layer of the toasted bread on the bottom of the pumpkin.
Stir together the broth and crème fraîche. Add the remaining teaspoon salt, nutmeg and pepper to the mixture and stir again until dissolved.
Pour about a third of the broth over the bread, followed by a third of the cheese. Continue layering twice more and top with the bay leaf. Replace the pumpkin top and carefully place in the oven.

Bake for 1 hour. Turn the oven down to 375 degrees and bake for another 30   minutes.
At this point, take the pumpkin out of the oven and gently poke it with a skewer or the point of a knife – there should be very little resistance, but   should still hold its shape. If it still feels a bit firm, put it back in the   oven and test it at 15-minute intervals until if feels done – try not to overcook so that the pumpkin doesn’t start to slump or cave in.

To serve, carefully spoon out some broth, bread and pieces of pumpkin (you   have to scrape the sides a bit to break up the flesh). As you get toward the bottom of the pumpkin, some liquid might begin to leak out – keep the pumpkin in the pan or another large bowl just in case.
Top with additional cheese and enjoy.
Serves 10-12.

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