Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Pumpkin Gratin

Pumpkin Gratin

This creamy, cheesy dish is like savory pumpkin pie

Can’t get enough pumpkin this time of year? Neither can we. Especially when it’s mixed with cream and gruyère in a savory side dish.

So remember: This pumpkin gratin would love an invitation to your next dinner party. Maybe as a plus one for ham or beef roast.

Or even turkey. We hear you may be serving that in a few weeks.


Pumpkin Gratin

Recipe: Pumpkin Gratin

This gratin is similar to both a casserole and a custard. It’s browned on top and served in the shallow dish it was baked in. Our dish is adapted from a Jacques Pépin recipe (see Notes).

If you baked this gratin in a pie or tart dish with a crust, you could call it quiche. Using sweet instead of savory ingredients would turn it into pumpkin pie.

Prep time for this dish is about 15 minutes (including sautéing the onions). Baking time adds 30 to 40 minutes.

This recipe yields about 8 side-dish servings. Leftovers keep for a few days if refrigerated in an airtight container.

Ingredients
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 garlic clove (two if you like a more pronounced garlic flavor, as we do)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt (see Notes)
  • 2½ to 3 ounces gruyère cheese, grated (about ¾ to 1 cup packed; see Notes for substitutions)
  • ~1 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated 
  • 3 large eggs (consider using pasteurized eggs; see Notes)
  • 1 cup cream
  • 15-ounce can pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling; see Notes)
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme (or 1 teaspoon fresh thyme)
  • additional salt to taste (maybe ½ teaspoon kosher salt for us)
  • a dozen or so grinds of black pepper (to taste)
  • garnish of thyme sprigs or chopped parsley (very optional)
Procedure
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Peel the onion, cut it in half, then cut each half into thin slices. Set aside.
  3. Peel the garlic and mince it or slice it thinly. Set aside.
  4. Place a large skillet (preferably nonstick) on medium stovetop heat and add 1 tablespoon butter. When the butter has melted, add the chopped onion. Add salt to taste. Sauté the onion for about 6 minutes (until it’s translucent). Then add the chopped garlic and sauté for 1 additional minute. Remove the skillet from the heat and let it cool.
  5. While the onion is cooking, use the remaining tablespoon of butter to grease a gratin dish (use one that holds 1½ to 2 quarts). Set aside.
  6. Grate the gruyère and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses. Set aside.
  7. Break the eggs into a large mixing bowl. Beat the eggs lightly with a fork or whisk. Add the cream to the mixing bowl and beat to combine. Add the pumpkin purée, thyme, salt to taste, and black pepper to taste. Beat with a whisk or spoon to combine.
  8. Add the grated gruyère cheese and the onion/garlic mixture, folding them in with a spoon. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the prepared gratin dish. Smooth the top of the gratin, then sprinkle the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese evenly over the top of the dish. Place the gratin dish into the preheated oven and set a timer for 25 minutes.
  9. When the timer goes off, check to see if the gratin is done (a thin knife or toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean; the dish may need another 5 minutes or so in the oven). When done, the top of the gratin may not be as brown as you’d like. In that case, just run it under the broiler for about a minute to brown the cheese.
  10. Top the gratin with a garnish of thyme sprigs or chopped parsley, if you like, and serve.
Pumpkin Gratin

Notes
  • This is a very rich and hearty dish. Although it’s designed to be served as a side, you could make an entire meal out of it. Especially if you add a salad or some crusty bread.
  • We like to use gruyère cheese in gratins. You could probably substitute a domestic Swiss-type cheese (we haven’t taste-tested this, but think it would work).
  • If you plan to taste the raw pumpkin batter before pouring it into the gratin dish (and we usually do, to make sure the seasoning is correct), you may want to consider using pasteurized eggs. Non-pasteurized eggs can contain salmonella. This problem is rare, but real. 
  • Have roasted whole pumpkin on hand? You could substitute it for canned (the flavor will probably be better). We generally use canned pumpkin in this dish because it’s readily available and of decent quality. Not to mention more convenient.
  • Pumpkin is a form of winter squash that is native to North America (it probably originated in the area that today takes in northeastern Mexico and the southwestern US). It dates back at least to 5500 BCE, probably earlier. It’s usually orange, although there are yellow varieties too. The word pumpkin has no particular scientific meaning. In North America, “pumpkin” usually refers to orange winter squash derived from Cucurbita pepo. In other parts of the world, “pumpkin” is often just a generic term for winter squash.
  • When we hear “pumpkin” in the US, we usually think of the large orange squash used to make jack-o’-lanterns for Halloween. These pumpkins are edible, but they tend to be rather stringy. If you want to cook fresh pumpkin, look for the smaller “pie” varieties. We think butternut squash makes a pretty good substitute for fresh pumpkin. And some brands of canned “pumpkin” actually contain other varieties of winter squash.
  • The biggest producer of canned pumpkin in the US is Libby’s, which uses a strain of Dickinson pumpkins that they developed specifically for canning. Their pumpkins are larger than normal “pie” pumpkins, with meaty, sweet flesh and a creamy texture. Dickinson pumpkins aren’t the deep orange we usually associate with jack o’lanterns; instead, they’re generally tan or pale orange.
  • Pumpkins can be grown throughout much of the US. But the Libby’s people grow almost all their pumpkins within about 80 miles of their processing plant in Morton, Illinois. 
  • Most producers of canned pumpkin make two versions: One that contains only pumpkin, and another that contains both pumpkin and “pumpkin pie spice” (for making pie). You should use the straight pumpkin version for this recipe.
  • BTW, although pumpkin pie is great, we think Sweet Potato Pie (which has a similar flavor} is even better. 
  • Our recipe for pumpkin gratin is based on one developed by Jacques Pépin. We don’t remember where we saw it. When we searched for “Jacques Pépin pumpkin gratin,” we found some videos of his TV shows, and we suspect that’s where he first presented his dish. We added onions, garlic, and thyme to our recipe, giving it a more complex flavor. The addition of onion also makes our version denser than his. If you leave out the onion, this dish will puff up more in the oven, sort of like a soufflé. 
  • Pépin also achieves a very light texture by mixing the ingredients for his dish in a food processor, which helps incorporate air into the mixture. He whirls everything except the gruyère in the bowl of the food processor (basically Step 7 of our procedure). Then he adds the gruyère (Step 8 for us) and pulses several times just to incorporate the cheese. 
  • We use kosher salt in cooking. It’s less salty by volume than regular table salt (the crystals are larger and more irregular, so they pack a measure less tightly). If substituting table salt, start with about half the amount we recommend. But always season to your taste, not ours.
Pumpkin Gratin

Grateful

“Yum!” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “I’m savoring the savory.”

“This is a quichin’ cousin of pumpkin pie,” I said.

“The onions make me cry with joy,” said Mrs K R. “Gruyère-anteed.”

“This dish is definitely what I’d call the Big Cheese,” I said.

“So glad you added the Parmigiano-Reggiano,” said Mrs K R.

Well, I always keep some on hand. In queso emergency.

You may also enjoy reading about:
Sweet Potato Pie with Walnut Crust
Winter Squash Gratin
Celery Root (Celeriac) and Potato Gratin
Fennel and Tomato Gratin
Gratin Dauphinois
Green Chile Cauliflower 'n Cheese
Sweet Potato and Rosemary Casserole
Kale and Cabbage Gratin
Or check out the index for more

82 comments:

  1. This looks delicious John, rich , tasty and perfect for this time of the year. I am not a pumpkin fan, could I use butternut squash instead.

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    1. Hi Gerlinde, butternut squash would be a superb substitution for the pumpkin. In fat we often use butternut squash in place of pumpkin in recipes. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  2. I can easily see this pumpkin gratin on our Thanksgiving table....and I'd definitely eat any leftovers for lunch! Sounds terrific!

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    1. Hi Liz, lunch? What's wrong with having leftovers for breakfast? :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  3. It looks and sounds wonderful! Perfect for Thanksgiving.

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    1. Hi Pam, it's a neat dish -- one of the better ones we've made this year. Thanks for the comment.

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  4. Great post, John....I love this pumpkin gratin idea and putting it on my to-do list! I can almost taste it now! Thanks for sharing ❤️

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    1. Hi Pat, you'll love this! I think it's totally your kind of dish. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  5. Your background about Libby’s pumpkin is fascinating! I’m now a devotee of fresh pumpkin, and I can really see it in this dish. I’m glad you are on a tear about savory pumpkin dishes.

    Thanks for the background on your Morocco experiences that you commented on my blog. I am quite aware that the real deal on Moroccan cuisine isn’t the Great British Baking Show, and you are so right that it may be Paula Wolfert.

    Best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

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    1. Hi Mae,the Libby's info is neat, isn't it? :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  6. This looks and sounds so inviting. Rich, creamy and cheesy..it would be perfect for holiday table.

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    1. Hi Angie, really rich, and really good. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  7. I am the biggest fan of gratins, so I should definitely try this one, amazing idea!☺

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    1. Hi Natlia, it's good. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  8. I love seeing pumpkin in savory recipes. It's so much more expected in those that are sweet, but so tasty both ways. This certainly looks like a great way to dish up some delicious comfort. Nothing like "creamy, cheesy!" I'm in. :-) ~Valentina

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    1. Hi Valentina, creamy and cheesy are pretty hard to resist, aren't they? And they're a nice match with pumpkin! Thanks for the comment.

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  9. This sounds wonderful, such a divine blend of creamy pumpkin and heart warming cheeses. Thanks for another winning vegetable dish.

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    1. Hi Merryn, it's really a fun (and tasty!!) combo of flavors. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  10. I loved to read your notes today - for an Australian so much to learn. We eat pumpkin all year around, basically do not use the word 'squash', cannot buy it pureed in tins if not imported and do not often use it in sweet recipes :) ! But I do like your gratin dish which would make a lovely lunch or more than adequate light summer dinner with salad. Looks like a delicious omelette . . .

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    1. Hi Eha, the "pumpkin" terminology/useage is so different around the globe! Canned pumpkin is actually worth having, if you want a nice creamy smooth texture. And this does make a great dinner -- really filling if you have more than a smallish serving. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  11. I love savory dishes with pumpkin! And gruyère cheese is one of my favorite cheeses!

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    1. Hi Laura, sweet pumpkin things are certainly good, but savory ones are so much better! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  12. Definitely going to try this. Believe it or not it is keto!

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    1. Hi Anne, you'll love this -- TONS of flavor! Thanks for the comment.

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  13. hi KR
    well clearly pumpkin is the veg du jour:-) onion garlic and thyme is a great combo of flavours, and cheese of course is a perfect addition. Pumpkin season is over here till winter so maybe next year it can go on the menu ... cheers sherry

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    1. Hi Sherry, we always have fun with pumpkin recipes at this time of the year. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  14. Count me in. This gratin sounds fabulous and so worth it. Now if I can just get Manservant to consider this dinner.

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    1. Hi Abbe, once Manservant tastes this he'll want seconds. Probably thirds. Sounds like dinner! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  15. This sounds absolutely fantastic, and I love all the info. Thanks!

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    1. Hi Jeff, this is really good. Really. Good. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  16. Oh I am definitely sending an invitation out to this beauty! What a fantastic side dish! I am excited to try this one

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    1. Hi Dahn, bet you'll end up inviting this beauty often! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  17. I love this idea John. And with gruyere???? I'm in. :) Pinning so I can make this one very soon.

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    1. Hi Lea Ann, this is SO loaded with flavor. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  18. OMG John, a savory pumpkin pie...looks amazing and so tasty...absolutely love the idea of creamy and rich...thank you so much for the recipe.
    Have a wonderful rest of the week!

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    1. Hi Juliana, good stuff, huh? :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  19. This is a really unique recipe. Have not seen one quite like this. It has winner flavors and also can be made ahead so a great recipe for Thanksgiving or any autumn day.

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    1. Hi Bobbi, this really is a neat recipe, isn't it? Terrific flavor! Thanks for the comment.

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  20. Such an interesting way to cook up pumpkin. It sounds rich flavored and delicious.Thanks

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    1. Hi Judee, isn't this fun? And SO good! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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    1. Hi Kinga, we do, too. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  22. reminds me of the pumpkin spoonbread of my youth. GREG

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    1. Hi Greg, now you have me thinking about mixing cornmeal with this. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  23. Wow, I have never had something like this. Wonderful recipe!

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    1. Hi Balvinder, it's really a fun -- and tasty!! -- dish. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  24. This is the type of comfort food I'm needing right now. I wasn't ready for cold weather, so I've been craving dish like this. And with a huge pumpkin on the counter, what a perfect dish. Thanks John!

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    1. Hi MJ, I predict that pumpkin will reach a tasty ending. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  25. Tis the SEASON!!! :)
    Gruyere cheese totally reminds me of when I was a kid! I used to eat it with apples!

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    1. Hi GiGi, that's a wonderful pairing! Speaking of which, gruyère isn't bad with pears, either. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  26. This looks yummy, the ultimate comfort food.
    Amalia
    xo

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    1. Hi Amalia, it IS yummy. Really yummy. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  27. This looks absolutely delicious! Jacques Pepin (or should we call him 'JP') would be proud!

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    1. Hi Fran, JP is SO good, isn't he? Love his recipes! Thanks for the comment.

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  28. John, love the savory twist you've given pumpkin! This dish looks incredible! The flavor must be wonderful!

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    1. Hi Kelly, the flavor of this IS wonderful! Really good stuff. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  29. I am not one for pumpkin pie. But this -- now this gratin has me drooling. What a perfect side to Thanksgiving dinner, too. Can't wait to try making it.

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    1. Hi Carolyn, definitely drool worthy. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  30. Wow, this is such a unique way to enjoy pumpkin! What a terrific idea and it looks wonderful.

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    1. Hi Amy, it IS wonderful. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  31. What's not to love about this. Sounds wonderful and would be a nice addition to our Thanksgiving menu.

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    1. Hi Vicki, it really is a great dish. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  32. This would make a great vegetarian entrée for folks at Thanksgiving! I have a couple of pie pumpkins that need roasting - and I know exactly what I will do with the purée! Thanks John - great recipe and great addition to the autumn table!

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    1. Hi David, this is really filling enough that a large serving does serve as an entrée. Have fun roasting your pumpkins! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  33. This pumpkin gratin sounds delicious. Perfect for Thanksgiving!

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    1. Hi Dawn, it's truly a wonderful dish. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  34. A great idea for pumpkin, never tried it as a gratin before! Such a great colour too.

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    1. Hi Caroline, pumpkin gratin is really good! Definitely worth a try. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  35. Mmmm,mm! Looks delicious, John! Bill loves pumpkin anything so I will have to try this, another new recipe to add to the list. Thanks!

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    1. Hi Pam, we're pretty keen on pumpkin anything, too. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  36. This sounds so good with the gruyere! Luv the idea of taking the puree in a savory direction too. You're making me hungry right now!

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    1. Hi Lisa, savory pumpkin is good stuff. Love it! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  37. John, we love this Pumpkin Gratin - what a fabulous recipe! Especially the gruyere cheese in this recipe. We love pumpkin and we so enjoyed the history of about it. Thanks so much!

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    1. Hi Anna & Liz, the cheese is fabulous in this. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  38. Yes, I can see myself "savoring the savory" with this delightful recipe! I've always been a fan of Jacques Pepin and your take on this is lovely.

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    1. Hi Jean, Jacques Pepin is wonderful, isn't he? His recipes always are good. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  39. This sounds really nice, John. I happen to have a nice pumpkin ready for eating. May give this a try tonight, making my own purée. With a nice green salad, that'll be dinner... :-)

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    1. Hi Frank, this + salad = more than enough for dinner. :-) And it'll be excellent with your own purée! Thanks for the comment.

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  40. I missed reading the wonderful blogs and blogging too. Look at the color of the gratin! Perfect for this weather

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    1. Hi Shibi, great to see you again! And this really is wonderful for fall. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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