Pumpkin soup originated in France. The French developed several recipes and even a fancy way to serve the soup as noted in the British translated 1812 Professed Cook...
Many pumpkin varieties can be used for soup. Red kuri squash, sugar pie squash and honeynut squash are among the best. I used them all in this recipe (70% red kuri squash / 30% sugar pie & honeynut squash for garnishing). The Red Kuri skin is hard but thin, and is edible once cooked. It has creamy yellow flesh, with a smooth texture and taste similar to cooked chestnuts. Sugar Pie Pumpkin are tender and buttery with a sweet, earthy, and nutty flavor. Honeynut squash is small in size, averaging 10-13 centimeters in length, and has the traditional bell shape of a butternut squash. The flesh is firm, moist, and orange with a small cavity in the bulbous end of the squash filled with stringy pulp and a few flat, cream-colored seeds. Once harvested, Honeynut squash is cured up to three weeks in a temperature-controlled setting, which allows for the sugars to condense within the flesh and the skin to harden. When cooked, is tender and creamy with a sweet, nutty, caramel, and malt-like flavor.
Roasting pumpkins / squashes prior to cooking with the liquid, enriched the whole dish. The use of heavy cream in pumpkin soups is not necessary. I rather prefer using butter, a powerful mixer will smooth that out to the perfection. Pumpkin soup goes along with many creative toppings ideas such as spiced-croutons / roasted bacon / sautéed mushrooms / truffles / parmesan etc...
Clean out pumpkins, squashes and fruits with wet paper towels or rinse them out. Cut pumpkins lengthwise and remove seeds and fibrous part. Save everything for the stock. Cut and core pear and apple (do not peel). In a large sautoir coat bottom pan with olive oil, add salt, chopped ginger, halved garlic head and herbs. Arrange pear, apple and 1/2 orange (flesh side down). Top with pumpkin halves and honeynut remaining flesh. Tent with aluminum foil and bake at 425ºF/210ºC for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, flip pumpkins, and stuff up with remaining cooked ingredients; apple, pear, orange, garlic, ginger, herbs... Put back in the oven for 40 minutes more or until cooked through. If using fan oven, baking time shall be reduced. Transfer all baked goods onto a baking mat or tray. Do not clean the sautoir, you want to cook the soup straight in and use all the bits left on the bottom pan during roasting. Scrap meat out from the pumpkins (if using Red Kuri Squash though, skin can be left on). Chop pumpkin meat, apple and pear. Squeeze garlic out of their envelops; save all scraps, skins and herbs for the stock.
Cut off Honeynut squash ends and peel until flesh shows up. Use neck only for the brunoise. Trim and cut neck into 0.12''/3mm slices, cut slices into batonnet and then cubes. Save bottom parts and add it to the roasting pumpkin pan. Add seeds and skins for the pumpkin stock. Mince shallots and throw scraps to the stock as well. In a frying pan, sauté brunoise along with shallots, oil, salt and sugar for 5 minutes, on medium heat. Add cream and reduce for about 5 minutes or until it comes together. Let cool and fill half silicone sphere mold and freeze for 2 hours. Unmold, and assemble 2 half spheres to form balls. Do not serve frozen. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. Pumpkin brunoise can be scooped out spoon out into quenelle...
In a large saucepan, gather all scraps from squashes, seeds, fruits, seeds and skins. Add water, bring to a boil and cook on low heat for 30 minutes or so.
In the same large sautoir that was used to roast pumpkins, add 30g butter and put back chopped pumpkin meat, pear, apple and garlic. Squeeze out juice from the orange, add pumpkin stock, water or chicken stock and cook pumpkin mixture for 25 minutes more. Make 3 or 4 batches at the time and mix using a powerful blender – divide butter (100g) into 3 or 4 chunks and add it to each batch. Add more butter if desired. Pass blended soup through a sieve. Repeat until done. Readjust consistency by adding more stock or water if necessary. Do not add too much liquid.. it should remain pretty thick and velvety. Season with more salt and ground black pepper if needed. Bring velouté to a boil before serving.
Toast some pepitas. The soup can be served in a large shallow dish with warm pumpkin brunoise laid on the bottom. If plating, place a cool (not frozen) Honeynut squash in the center of each hot plate and warm up in the microwave a few sec if desired. Pour in hot velouté around. Garnish with a few drops of black truffle oil and toasted pepitas. Pumpkin velouté can be kept refrigerated for a few days or weeks in the freezer. Reheat soup and blend prior to serve. Enjoy!