Salt-baked pumpkin with Pyengana cream and toasted grains

"This is an impressive entrée to bring to the table," says Gilmore. "Crack open the crust at the table so your guests get the scent of pumpkin, then take it to the kitchen to finish the presentation." Gilmore bakes the pumpkin in a fire pit of hot coals, but has given an oven method, too. If you're cooking it in a fire pit, prepare it a few hours ahead so you have a deep layer of hot coals.

You'll need

1 small Kent or medium potimarron pumpkin (1.5kg-2.25kg; see note) Rock salt, for baking 2 tbsp pepitas 2 tbsp sunflower seeds 50 gm unsalted butter, coarsely chopped 30 gm (1¼ cups) puffed quinoa (see note) 30 gm (½ cup) puffed barley (see note) 30 gm (½ cup) puffed wild rice (see note)   Salt-crust dough 600 gm (4 cups) plain flour 300 gm sea salt 120 gm eggwhite (about 4)   Pyengana cheddar cream 20 gm finely chopped golden shallots (1-2 shallots) 1 garlic clove, finely chopped 20 gm unsalted butter 400 ml pouring cream 150 gm finely grated Pyengana cheddar, or another hard cheese


  • 01
  • For salt-crust dough, mix flour, salt, eggwhite and 250ml cold water in an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook until the mixture comes together, then transfer to a floured surface and knead until smooth (2-3 minutes). Wrap in plastic wrap and rest for 1 hour.
  • 02
  • If you’re using the oven, preheat oven to 190C. Roll out salt-crust dough to 5mm thick, place pumpkin in the centre and wrap in dough to cover it fully, pinching dough to seal. Pierce two small holes in the top of the pumpkin with a skewer, through pastry and into flesh, to allow steam to escape. Place pumpkin on a bed of rock salt in a baking dish and bake (or bury in the hot coals of the fire pit) until pumpkin is cooked and internal temperature on an inserted probe thermometer reaches 85C (1¼ hours for a 1.5kg pumpkin and up to 1¾ hours for 2.25kg pumpkin). Set aside to rest for 20 minutes, then place on a tray or plate and crack open the pastry.
  • 03
  • Meanwhile, for Pyengana cream, sauté shallots and garlic in butter in a saucepan over low heat until soft and translucent (8-10 minutes). Add cream, increase heat, bring to the boil and cook until reduced by a third (3-4 minutes). Reduce heat to very low, scatter in cheddar and whisk until melted. Keep warm, or reheat gently to serve.
  • 04
  • Reduce oven to 180C. Roast pepitas and sunflower seeds on an oven tray lined with baking paper or on a silicone oven tray until lightly golden (6-8 minutes). Leave to cool. Melt butter in a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat until foaming. Add puffed quinoa, barley and wild rice, toss to coat, then add roasted pepitas and sunflower seeds, and toss to combine and warm through (30-40 seconds). Season to taste and mix for a minute off the heat. Keep warm or gently reheat to serve.
  • 05
  • Slice pumpkin into wedges, remove seeds and fibrous centre and peel the skin away with a knife. The pumpkin should be meltingly soft and tender. Place a wedge on each serving plate, spoon cheese sauce on top, sprinkle generously with grains and seeds and serve.

At A Glance

  • Serves 8 - 10 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 8 - 10 people

Additional Notes

Potimarron, a French heirloom pumpkin, is available from Johnstone’s Kitchen Gardens ( and farmers’ markets. Puffed quinoa and barley are available from health-food shops or For puffed wild rice, deep-fry 25gm uncooked wild rice for 10-20 seconds at 190C, then remove with a fine skimmer or drain in a sieve and cool on paper towels; otherwise use regular puffed rice.

Drink Suggestion

2008 Canobolas-Smith “Shine” Chardonnay, Orange, NSW, or 2015 KT Rosé, Clare Valley, SA.

Featured in

Jun 2016

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