We think of pumpkin soup or pumpkin pie when designing our Thanksgiving menu. But tiny fist-size pumpkins, like bright orange Jack Be Little or white Baby Boo, can make a delightful accent on the plate, particularly when filled with my harvest fruit dressing. I plan to use the Baby Boo pumpkins from my first harvest. Those are the white ones behind this vibrant squash from my garden.
If individual servings aren't what you had in mind, make the dressing in a larger pumpkin, but remember to increase the cooking time to be sure the dressing is heated through. Cooking the dressing in the pumpkins provides some extra moisture – if you’re going to skip that step add a little more vegetable stock until you reach your desired texture.
Harvest fruit stuffing baked in mini pumpkins
Serves 12, with extra for leftovers
12 “Jack Be Little” or “Baby Boo” pumpkins
4 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, diced
2 ribs celery
½ cup raisins
1 apple diced
1 pear, diced
½ cup chopped walnuts
¼ cup fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
6 cups dried seasoned stuffing (I like Pepperidge Farm)
2 cups vegetable stock, or more to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the tops off the pumpkins, jack-o-lantern style, and scrape the seeds out. Set aside.
Preheat a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Melt butter, add onions and celery, and sauté until onions are translucent, about five minutes. Stir in raisins, apple, pear, walnuts and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in stuffing, then vegetable stock.
Scoop about 1/3 cup stuffing into each pumpkin and cover with top. You’ll have extra stuffing for second helpings and leftovers. Bake until pumpkin flesh is tender when pierced with a fork, about 40 minutes.
Recipe used with permission from Janine MacLachlan, The Rustic Kitchen, www. RusticKitchen.com. All rights reserved.