Pumpkin Apple Soup

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Pumpkin Apple Soup
paired with Pine Ridge Vineyards Carneros Collines Chardonnay
Serves 6-8

Serve this fall soup in elegant demitasse cups garnished with orange crème fraîche or as a first course in shallow warmed bowls. The richly styled Collines Chardonnay – with its aromas and flavors of apples – marries well with this soup, matching in creamy texture and bringing out the subtle apple of the soup.

3-pound Cinderella pumpkin or butternut squash
4 oz. butter
3 medium leeks, washed and sliced
3 apples, peeled, cored and sliced
3 oz. Calvados or brandy
6 to 8 cups water
4 oz. crème fraîche
1 large orange, juiced and skin zested
Salt, to taste

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Cut the squash in half through the stem ends, remove the seeds and place cut-side down on a lined baking sheet. Bake until the flesh is soft, about an hour. Let the squash cool long enough to handle, then scoop out the pulp.

Melt the butter in a heavy-bottom soup pot over medium heat. Add the leeks and a pinch of salt, and cook until soft. Add the apples and cook until soft and slightly golden. Deglaze the pot with the Calvados and allow the alcohol to cook out a bit. Add the squash pulp and water and heat to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until all ingredients have cooked through. Purée the soup with a blender or food mill. Adjust with salt and orange juice.

In a small bowl, whisk together the crème fraîche, orange zest and a pinch of salt. Garnish the soup with a drizzle of the orange crème fraîche.