Here’s the festive successor to the jacket potato with cheese: baked pumpkin with melty cheese.
Not many things can beat melted cheese in the comfort department. Its warming quality, the reassuring strings stretching from the dish to the mouth, invariably landing on the chin and having to be wiped with extra bread. Combined with a baked potato, it’s irresistible; but you have to allow the cheese to melt on the spud. The commonest mistake is hard cold grated cheddar shavings piled onto the potato skin. No – open up the burning hot potato, drop in a dollop of butter quickly followed by some Gruyère or Emmental and burrow, burrow, burrow in there with a fork until gooey strings appear. That’s the science of baked potato with cheese.
So if you need to feed a crowd of trick-or-tricksters back from their rounds, sick to their gills with candy; or a post-firework, slightly frozen or drenched to the bone party – here’s one better than a jacket spud. It is tasty; it can be prepped in advance; it’s fun for the kids and it features a hipster-approved veg. Use the munchkins, use a grown-up squash (just not too big; it will get cold too quickly) – and never, ever try cooking the cheese in the pumpkin from scratch. It will split and curdle to hell and do nothing for the taste of either itself or the edible vessel.
Sliced gherkins, a few lettuce leaves, a ton of apple chunks – and it’s no trick. It’s a treat!