Easy Pumpkin Gratin Recipe

How to make an easy pumpkin gratin recipe at home?

In Autumn as Thanksgiving Day approaches, Americans tend to dream about the flavor of pumpkin in all kinds of sweet indulgences:  Pumpkin Spice lattes, Pumpkin Scones,  Pumpkin Cakes, Pumpkin Pie, Pumpkin Bread, Pumpkin Muffins, Pumpkin Cookies.  However, in Italy, you are more likely to taste pumpkin in savory dishes, such as in fillings for little pillows of tender pasta, such as ravioli or agnoletti, or cooked in cubes and tossed with pasta and bacon, or in soups, gnocchi or pasta sauces.

In the Fall, I have enjoyed a number of memorable dishes in Northern Italy that contained pumpkin:  a risotto with wild mushrooms topped with shards of glazed roast pumpkin just over the Swiss border in Lake Lugano, and as a filling for handmade ravioli served in a cream sauce, savored while dining on a terrace overlooking Lake Como.  Many different varieties of pumpkins are grown in Italy, and you will find them in the cuisine in most regions.

The French are similar to the Italians, in that pumpkin is treated as a vegetable, and is prepared in savory dishes.  Dorie Greenspan, in Around My French Table, provides a recipe from a friend who lives in Lyon, for a glorious stuffed, roasted pumpkin.   David Lebovitz wrote about simply roasting pumpkin wedges in his blog, Living the Sweet Life in Paris, on October 25, 2010. The French do serve Soupe au Potiron, or Pumpkin Soup.

I was intrigued by a recipe by Jacques Pepin for Pumpkin Gratin.  He spoke about eating Pumpkin Pie in the States for the first time and believing that an error had been made, because it was sweet!    Jacques reminisced that this gratin was a dish that his mother used to prepare, and he provided a simple version in his cookbook, More fast Food My Way.

Pumpkin Gratin is a very simple, rustic dish, soufflé-like in texture, but not technique, savory, golden, prepared with eggs, heavy cream and gruyere cheese.  This can be served as a holiday side dish, or could be served as a vegetarian entrée.   You can garnish it with fried sage leaves, or some sprigs of fresh thyme, or even some crumbled, crisp bacon.

Pumpkin Gratin, recipe by Jacques Pepin, More Fast Food My Way, page 138, paraphrased by me here

Serves 4

Prep time 5 minutes

Cooking time:  45-55 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 – 15 ounce can of pure pumpkin puree
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup grated Swiss chees (I used Gruyere)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • I added 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1 Tablespoon grated Parmesan
  • Softened butter to butter a 6 cup gratin dish.

Method

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F

Butter the gratin dish.

Jacques combined all ingredients except the Parmesan cheese in a food processor and processed for about 15 seconds.  I simply beat the eggs and cream with a whisk, added the remaining ingredients and whisked for about a minute, and then poured the mixture into the gratin dish.

Top the gratin with the grated parmesan cheese.

Bake for 35-45 minutes, according to Jacque, until the gratin is golden, puffed in the center and set.   Mine took 55 minutes.

Garnish as you wish with sprigs of fresh thyme, or fresh or fried sage leaves, or crumbled, crisp bacon for all those who find it hard not to have bacon included in a Thanksgiving Day dish.

This dish is much more delicious and elegant than I had imagined.  It has a soufflé-like texture, and the flavors of pumpkin, eggs, and cheese are comforting and balanced.   It is beautiful in appearance, all golden and initially puffy on top, although it deflates rather quickly.  It is very simple to prepare, and it can be versatile.  My husband, after tasting this for the first time, asserted that this should be a traditional Thanksgiving dish.  He then added that he could enjoy it as an entrée, as well, or for a brunch dish, because the eggs, cream and cheese made it a very rich, satisfying dish.

Pumpkin Gratin Recipe
 
Ingredients
  • 1 – 15 ounce can of pure pumpkin puree
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¾ cup grated Swiss chees (I used Gruyere)
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • I added 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1 Tablespoon grated Parmesan
  • Softened butter to butter a 6 cup gratin dish.
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Butter the gratin dish.
  3. Jacques combined all ingredients except the Parmesan cheese in a food processor and processed for about 15 seconds.  I simply beat the eggs and cream with a whisk, added the remaining ingredients and whisked for about a minute, and then poured the mixture into the gratin dish.
  4. Top the gratin with the grated parmesan cheese.
  5. Bake for 35-45 minutes, according to Jacque, until the gratin is golden, puffed in the center and set.   Mine took 55 minutes.
  6. Garnish as you wish with sprigs of fresh thyme, or fresh or fried sage leaves, or crumbled, crisp bacon for all those who find it hard not to have bacon included in a Thanksgiving Day dish.

Thank you again, Chef Pepin!  This is another great example of delicious, elegant, but simple French cooking!

Readers, please share your inspirations for using pumpkin this season, and let me know your responses if you prepare this gratin. The Comment box can e found at the conclusion of the post.

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