Sweet, hearty and gently spiced, pumpkin soup is the perfect autumn recipe and an American classic.
Pumpkin soup or pumpkin pie?
Pumpkin soup, at least in its American incarnation, has a surprising history that involves that other great Thanksgiving dish, pumpkin pie. Pumpkin pie as a sweet dish with a pumpkin custard in a shortcrust base is actually a European dish in origin, moving back over to the States in the 18th and 19th centuries. Before that, pumpkin pie in America actually referred to what would later become known as pumpkin soup. Typically, in a dish that was popular across the fledgling nation, the inner flesh of the pumpkin would be mashed up, cooked down and then served in the pumpkin’s shell. It was only when the European (and now fully American!) version of pumpkin pie was taken to America that pumpkin soup changed names.
How the pumpkin soup is made
Pumpkin soup – as with most soups – has a pretty straightforward cooking process. Some onions are fried in oil until soft and then the core ingredient – the flesh of a whole pumpkin, cubed – is added. Once the pumpkin has started to soften, stock is added and the whole thing is cooked until the pumpkin gets very soft. Then, double cream goes in and the mixture is pureed until the soup is smooth and ready to eat. Depending on where you are and who is cooking, the pumpkin might be pre-roasted to add further depth of flavour, or spices like nutmeg might be added.
The many ways to eat pumpkin soup
The soup is typically served hot – although it can be eaten cold – with a garnish of cream and pumpkin seeds. To add body, it is also sometimes served with croutons or with a slice of bread to mop up the final few mouthfuls. Seeds are a good way to give the soup more texture, as is a handful of rocket salad.
Although we think of the soup as ‘American as apple pie’, it’s actually something that has been eaten in diverse places across the globe for a long time. Squash soups – including pumpkin – are eaten across Northern and Southern Africa, as well as in Haiti in the Caribbean.
The best place to get it in Singapore is at the Soup Spoon Union. But, if you want something a little sweeter, we’re also coming into the season for the Starbucks classic Pumpkin Spiced Latte, which is always well worth a try.