This is one of our all-time favourite Fall soups. The layered sweet and savoury flavours combined with the beautiful colour and aroma of this soup will make it one of your favourites as well. It is a fantastic way to start your Thanksgiving dinner. Enjoy!
1 ½ cups sour cream
¼ cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
1 cup pumpkin seeds or pepitas, shelled
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for pan
2 small buttercup or butternut squash, sliced in half lengthwise
2 medium onions, roughly chopped
3 celery stalks, roughly chopped
3 medium carrots, roughly chopped
¼ cup packed dark-brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon curry powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 Fuji (red, sweet) apples, peeled, cored, and roughly chopped (you may use pears as well or 2 of each)
2/3 cup brandy
¼ cup honey
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. Heat oven to 350°. In a small bowl, whisk together sour cream, maple syrup, 2 tablespoons water, and a pinch of salt. Cover; refrigerate.
2. In another bowl, toss pumpkin seeds with 2 teaspoons salt. Spread evenly over baking pan. Toast in oven until seeds are golden and begin to pop, 7 to 10 minutes. Set aside.
3. Butter a 9-by-13-by-2-inch baking dish. Place squash, cut side down, and 1/2 cup water in dish. Bake until tender, about 1 hour. Let cool 45 minutes. Remove seeds, peel, and set aside.
4. In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, melt butter. Add onions, celery, and carrots; cook, stirring, until onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add brown sugar and spices; cook, stirring, 5 minutes. Add apples and brandy; cook 10 minutes. Add squash and 12 cups water; simmer 1 hour. Let cool 30 minutes. Puree in food processor until smooth. Add honey, salt, and pepper to taste; pulse to combine. For an extra smooth soup process through sieve or food mill after it is pureed.
5. To serve, garnish with a dollop of maple cream, and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds.