There is nothing better than hot, melted cheese,” says Amanda Shulman – chef and owner of Her Place Philadelphia. When brainstorming menus for Her Place’s late-fall pop up before it opened, my partner and I were trying to think of a seasonal twist on the classic raclette dish. Melted cheese is served with crudites as dipping. We chose to serve the raclette in an acorn-squash — it’s a great (and edible!) vessel. vessels.”
Shulman’s recipe involves baking acorn squash until it is tender and then filling the hollowed-out squash with melted cheddar. Kirsch, an uncolored cherry brandy, helps to cut through the richness of the fondue. Shulman says that a splash of kirsch added to the fondue can take a Gruyere fondue up a notch. This is sure to please your table, friends, and, most importantly, your soul.
Food & Wine Test Kitchen Note
Bake the fondue inside the squash until a thermometer reads between 140 and 150degF.
It can be not easy to melt cheese, but it only takes a little patience. Don’t increase the temperature to speed up the melting. If the mixture appears to be breaking, stop adding the cheese and remove it from the heat. Then, use an immersion blender to blend it until it is smooth. Please return it to low temperature and add more cheese.
To pair with the rich, creamy, and nutty flavors in the Comte, we recommend a French red wine like Chateau Thivin Reverdon Brouilly.
Make sure to get ahead.
Step 2 can be done up to three hours in advance. Allow the squash to stand at room temperature, covered loosely with aluminum foil. Fill squash with fondue and bake until done.
- Four medium acorn squash
- Two tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 8 ounces Comte cheese, grated (about 2 cups)
- 8 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated (about 2 cups)
- One tablespoon of all-purpose flour
- 1 3/4 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- One tablespoon kirsch (cherry brandy) or dry white wine
- One garlic clove, finely grated
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste
- Crudites, such as sliced apples and pears, cornichons (such as cornichons), blanched broccoli, cauliflower, Belgian Endive, carrots and radishes, mini-rye toasts, and pretzel crisps.
- Preheat oven to 500degF. Trim about 1/4 inch off the bottom and 1 inch on top of each squash. (Just enough to make a flat bottom but not to reveal the hollow cavity.) Open out the squash using a spoon. Remove and discard any seeds or stringy bits. Sprinkle salt on the inside of the squash and drizzle olive oil evenly.
- Place the squash upside-down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast in a preheated oven for 25-30 minutes until the flesh is soft but still retains its shape. Remove the squash from the oven. Turn the squash upright; let cool on a baking sheet for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 450degF.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine grated cheeses with flour. Set aside. In a medium saucepan, heat heavy cream on medium. Stirring often, simmer until the cream is slightly thickened and has reduced by about half. This should take 15 minutes. Add milk, kirsch, and garlic. Reduce heat; add flour-coated cheddar, 1/4 cup at a time, whisking continuously until the cheese is completely melted. Add more cheese. Add additional salt and pepper to taste.
- Fill the squash cavity with fondue (about 3/4 cup per squash) up to 1/4 inch below the rim. Bake the fondue-filled pumpkin at 450 degrees F for 12-15 minutes or until bubbling and the top is brown. Serve immediately with any desired accompaniments.