I love America. Probably because most of my childhood nostalgia—I’m looking at you, Hanna Barbera—has its roots there. But also; I love America simply because it loves gourds as much as I do, and it even has a little ol’ holiday that extends their curcubita celebrity past Halloween.
I’m looking at you, Thanksgiving.
Anything gooey with cheese is the ultimate comfort food, right? For a Thanksgiving meal—or any family feast—comfort over stress is always the aim. My Cider & Cheese Carnival Squash Fondue edible bowls are cosy, pint-sized crowdpleasers—and a breezy-breeze to put together. They’re filled to the brim with cosy, wintry flavours and Bacchanalian amounts of cheese, offset against the syrupy sweetness of twice-baked squash.
If that doesn’t suffuse you (and your tastebuds) in the Thanksgiving spirit, then I just can’t help ya.
Eat your baked squashes with spoons (for scooping and slurping), and serve with any and every fondue dipper around. Think seared Poblano peppers, lemon squeezed apple slices, bread sticks, toasty baguettes, roasted baby spuds or even tortilla chips.
Use the sliced-off squash lids as an utterly pretentious (read: cute-as-hell) accompaniment to the edible fondue bowls, or scrape of the flesh and blitz into the #fallvibes smoothie of dreams.
I’m gonna give you a tip right before we get into the deets on this recipe. Once the Thanksgiving table is cleared, you can use the leftovers to make the most epic pasta sauce. I scoop out the remainder of my squash ‘bowl’, along with the fondue filling, then reheat and combine along with some crispy bacon bits for the following night’s dinner.
So you migghht wanna make double of this recipe because leftovers definitely aren’t a guarantee. And you will want that pasta, too.
What If I Can’t Find Carnival Squash?
No worries—acorn squash, red kabocha, munchkin pumpkins and even butternut can work in a pinch!Print
Twice-baked Carnival squash filled to the brim with bubbly, creamy cheese & fruity cider fondue—the cutest, *easiest*, most DELISH Thanksgiving side for your table!
- 1 whole carnival squash – choose a size to match the number of people you want to feed
- Olive oil or rapeseed oil, for drizzling
- A pinch of sea salt (per squash)
For fondue filling
- 200g emmental, grated
- 200g gruyère, grated
- 200g mature cheddar, grated (set aside 50g—around 1/3 cup— cheese for topping)
- 2 tbsp cornflour
- 200g crème fraîche
- 300ml cider (the booze, not the vinegar!)
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 2 large garlic cloves, crushed
- Black pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 400F/200C/Gas Mark 6.
- Cut a ‘lid’ off the squash and scoop out the seeds and stringy bits.*
- Drizzle the inside of the squash with olive oil and sprinkle with a pinch of salt.
- Turn the squash flat side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment and roast for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, flip the squash to the flat side is facing up and roast for another 15 minutes.
- While the squash is cooking, mix the grated cheeses with the cornflour until completely coated and no loose flour remains.
- Set a large pot on medium heat, and fry the shallots and garlic for around 2-3 minutes. Next, toss in the cheese, a little bit at a time (saving 50g for later), crème fraîche, and cider. Stir continuously until melted and creamy.
- Once baked, remove squashes from oven. Spoon fondue filling into each until filled to the brim. Sprinkle the tops with the remaining grated cheese. Place back into the oven and grill until the fondue is golden-brown and bubbling.
- Grind over fresh back pepper, then serve immediately with your favourite fondue dippers. 🖤
*Save the lid to close your squash bowls before serving, or bake with the rest of the squash, then scrape off the sweet flesh to blitz into this smoothie.