Pumpkin Soup with Spiced Cream

Last week I bought a small Hokkaido pumpkin with no particular dish or recipe in mind.  Just liked the look and size of it, small enough not to feed a whole army, so I wouldn’t need to throw away half of it.

I wanted to use this pumpkin up today for several reasons.  I’ll be going on another one week business trip at the end of next week, so I thought I’d better use this thing up before I go.  The other reason is that I wanted to take decent pics of whatever I was going to make, and because it’s already dark when I get home from work during the week, I’d have to make do with artificial lighting.  Not that the pics I’ve taken today are anything to write home about, but at least I was able to take them in daylight.  The reason I decided on this particular pumpkin soup recipe today is that I couldn’t be bothered to look up pumpkin recipes before I went food shopping yesterday, so today being Sunday and the shops closed (yes, folks, that’s how it is in Germany…), I had to look through my recipe collection and find one that would match the contents of the fridge and the store cupboard, and I had (almost) everything in required by this recipe.

Pumpkin Soup with Spiced Cream

400 g Hokkaido pumpkin
175 g sour apples
1 cm piece of fresh ginger
75 g onions
25 g butter
2 tbsp quince jelly
½ tsp chilli flakes
150 ml cider
750 ml stock
1 tbsp lemon juice
100 ml cream
1 pinch ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground cloves
1 pinch ground allspice
freshly ground white pepper
2 tbsp roughly chopped parsley

Feeds 4 as a starter

Quarter and deseed pumpkin.  Cut quarters into thin slices, leaving the skin on.  Peel, quarter and deseed apples, and cut into thin slices. [I cut both pumpkin and apple slices into dice because that way it would fit better into the – almost too small – pot I chose.] Peel and finely cut ginger.  Peel and dice onions.

Braise the whole lot in butter.  Season with salt, quince jelly [I never have that, so I always use apple jelly], and half of the chilli flakes.  Top up with cider, stock and lemon juice.  Let simmer for approximately 20 minutes at medium heat with lid closed.

Beat the cream together with the cinnamon, cloves and allspice.  [You’ll notice in the pics that the cream isn’t beaten to perfection – that’s because my hand mixer didn’t work properly with the small amount of cream, so I used the little gadget for whipping up milk for latte macchiato…]  Finely purée the soup.  Divide into soup bowls, put a dollop of the spiced cream on top, and serve with a sprinkle of the remaining chilli flakes and chopped parsley. [I didn’t have any parsley, so I sprinkled over a few thyme leaves.]

This is a very quick recipe, cutting up and preparing the ingredients only took 10 minutes.  Then another 30 minutes for cooking, that’s it.  The taste of this soup is really nice – you can taste the apple and cider, they give it a slightly fruity tang, which is perfectly balanced by the spiced cream.  This is something  I will definitely make again.  What made me especially happy was that even without having all the ingredients to hand (no quince jelly, white pepper, or parsley), I was able to make do with a few substitutions.