Phew, that was a long title.
Happy first day of October!
Here in Massachusetts it is rainy and cold and I love it! I'm a bit weird in that way. I look forward to the rainy days, I always have. That was the main reason California and I did not get along. I need those days of expected laziness. The days when its wet outside so its perfectly acceptable to stay in yoga pants all day watching Harry Potter marathons on ABC Family.
I need the days of putting on my gray rain boots (see? I even buy gloomy rain boots!), bundling up in a scarf and sloshing through fields of wet pumpkins to find the one with the perfect stem. I couldn't handle the eternal sunshine that is California. I mean, sure they have fantastic produce year round, a perfectly breathtaking coast line and basically everyone out there is in fantastic shape because they have NO excuses to not get outside and be active. Lets not kid ourselves, I couldn't handle California because I am just not that athletic. Clearly I need the movie and popcorn days over the active ones. Rainy days are my favorite days, and that is what sealed the deal for me to come home to good 'ol gloomy New England - because Gray is my middle name…well, not really…its actually Elizabeth - but Gray IS my mothers middle name! See, its in my blood.
So, this soup. It is hearty and bursting with the flavors of fall. The apple and pumpkin compliment each other, yet somehow manage to stand apart and let their own strong flavors shine. The pumpkin ale brings a bit of acidity and there is a hint of warmth with the cinnamon undertones. Adding the whipped mascarpone cheese is a must - the creamy and cool cut the hot and tangy so beautifully. Topping it off with some toasted pumpkin seeds adds a little crunch, and dipping the warm soft bread in this soup makes for a perfectly gray and rainy afternoon lunch.
Happy October to you!
• Pumpkin, Apple and Ale Soup •
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 small yellow onion - chopped
• one small sugar pumpkin - peeled, gutted and cubed
• two apples - I used Cortland because it was what we had on hand, but any apple will do!
• 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
• 1 bottle pumpkin beer - I used Traveler "Jack-O-Traveler"
• 1 tablespoon cinnamon
• 1 tablespoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon ground clove
• 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
• 1/2 cup whole milk
In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat.
Add the chopped onion, stirring until the onion is glossy.
Toss in the chopped pumpkin and apples, stirring until the apples begin to soften - about 5 minutes.
Pour in the stock, stir, and then add the beer.
Continue to cook over medium high heat until the pumpkin is soft and easily pierced with a fork.
Once the pumpkin is soft, add the spices and stir.
Using an immersion blender, pulse the soup (being careful- it spits and splatters hot soup all over if you aren't cautious!) until the pumpkin and apples are pureed (if you do not own an immersion blender, you can ladle the soup into a blender and pulse until smooth - you may need to do this in batches, depending on how big your blender is).
Add the milk and continue to pulse, until you are left with a thick and creamy soup.
• Whipped Mascarpone •
• 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
• 1/2 cup heavy cream
In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, add the mascarpone and whip on low for a few seconds.
Add the cream slowly to the cheese and continue to whip, increasing the speed slowly until you have reach full speed.
Whip on full speed until the cheese and cream have come together in stiff peaks, resembling whipped cream.
• One Hour Crusty Bread •
from Local Milk
• 4 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast (two packets)
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 1 1/2 cups warm water
• 3 1/2 cups bread flour
• 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 3/4 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar
In the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer put the yeast, sugar, and water and let it sit.
Heat the oven to 450°F
Put a Dutch oven in to warm as the oven heats - get out your flour, salt, vinegar, spray oil, and anything else you need.
Now that the yeast has had a few minutes to activate, add 3 cups of the flour as well as the salt and vinegar and beat for several minutes with the paddle.
Add the last 1/2 cup of flour and switch to the dough hook and beat for seven minutes (alternately, knead dough for five minutes, or until the dough becomes extremely elastic) This will still be a wet dough, but not goopy. The dough will clear the sides of the bowl but still stick to the bottom.
Lightly grease a microwave-safe bowl with oil and transfer the bread dough to it, rolling it in the oil. Cover the bowl with a very wet towel. Cover the whole thing with a dry towel and put in the microwave. Microwave on HIGH for 25 seconds. Let rest in the microwave for about five minutes. Microwave on HIGH for another 25 seconds, then remove. Let rest and rise for another 15 minutes.
Shape into a ball and plop into the preheated pan (don't forget to use oven mitts! I've definitely grabbed a 450 degree pan before…) Quickly slash the top with a knife.
Cover and bake for about 30 minutes, then remove the cover and bake for another 10 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the internal temperature hits 210.
Now go ahead and ladle some soup into a big bowl, add a few scoops of whipped mascarpone, top with some toasted pumpkin seeds and serve with a couple slices of warm bread. Dip the bread right in the soup, and maybe sip on a pumpkin ale - because, why not?
listening to: Pumpkin Soup by Kate Nash