Christophene au Gratin

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves:

    4 to 6

Appears in

Sweet Hands: Island Cooking from Trinidad and Tobago

Sweet Hands

By Ramin Ganeshram

Published 2018

  • About

Although it resembles a large green pear, christophene (also called chayote) is a vine squash. Its thin skin and soft, pear-like flesh are exceedingly mild, making it perfect for combining with stronger-tasting ingredients, like cheddar cheese.


  • 4 christophenes/chayote
  • ¾ teaspoon coarse salt
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons dry breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) grated cheddar cheese


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the christophenes in a large saucepan with enough water to cover and ½ teaspoon of the salt. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about 25 minutes, or until the christophenes are tender. Drain and cool.
  2. Once the christophenes are cool, slice them in half lengthwise and using a spoon remove and discard any seeds from the center and then scrape out the pulp, reserving the shells. Chop the pulp into bite-size pieces and mash about one-quarter of the pieces with a potato masher until pulpy. Set aside.
  3. Heat the butter in a deep frying pan. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Add the mashed and chopped christophene and mix well. Season with the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt and black pepper. Cook, stirring often, for about 2 minutes. Stir in the breadcrumbs and cook for 1 minute. Mix in ½ cup of the grated cheese and remove from heat.
  4. Place the christophene shells on a baking sheet and spoon the christophene mixture evenly into each shell. Top with the remaining ½ cup of grated cheese. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted, bubbly, and lightly brown. Serve hot as a vegetable side dish.