Photo courtesy of Maura McEvoy.
| November 20, 2013

Want to discover an easy, mouthwatering way to add French flair to your cuisine? Just scoop out a pumpkin and unleash your imagination. 

READ: 10 Pumpkin Dessert Recipes (That Aren't Pie)

The wonderfully inviting tian refers to a shallow dish in which a meal is made, resulting in a delightfully baked appetizer or entrée featuring hearty layers of seasonal vegetables. Not only will guests demand seconds, but it will also make you appear as if you were well trained by a master chef. And fortunately, one is sharing his secrets to the perfect pumpkin tian.

“I’m so pleased by the presentation of this tian, where the shell of the squash becomes the baking and serving vessel that you will bring to the table,” explains chef and cookbook author John Besh, who discovered the tian during his many European travels.

READ: How To Make A Pumpkin Martini

“If you don’t want to bother with the shell, you can bake the scooped out pumpkin and custard in a shallow casserole,” says Besh.

For those last-minute get-togethers, impress your loved ones with the decadent pumpkin tian and feel free to incorporate any other fresh veggies you desire. Enjoy!

Impress Guests With the Simple Pumpkin Tian

Cooking Method: 
Serves 6-8


  • 1 4-5 lb. sweet pumpkin or kabocha squash
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • Dash of nutmeg
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat the over to 325 degrees F. Cut the top off the pumpkin, about 3 inches below the stem, and reserve to serve with the squash. With a spoon, scoop out the seeds. (You can roast the pumpkin seeds for a nice snack). Use a spoon to scrape out as much of the pumpkin as you can, leaving the shell intact. Chop the flesh.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add the garlic and pumpkin flesh and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pumpkin is tender, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the thyme, cayenne, and nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon the sauteed pumpkin back into the shell.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, and cheese and pour into the pumpkin shell. Place on a baking pan and bake until the top is golden brown and the custard is set, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Serve right from the pumpkin while it's still hot.