You’ll wow your dinner guests with this fun, gorgeous soup presentation. Oiling the pumpkin makes it look like it’s been varnished, and it fairly glows with rich color. I garnished with sliced scallions, but I think next time I’ll try something different and use candied pumpkin seeds, croutons made from cinnamon-raisin bread, or even a swirl of sriracha sauce.

Ingredients:

3- to 4-pound sugar pumpkin

1 ½ cups plain unsweetened nondairy milk

1 ½ cups vegetable broth

¼ cup whole raw cashews

2 Tbsp. brandy (optional)

1 Tbsp. maple syrup

1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Pinch of cayenne

1 Tbsp. nondairy butter

Salt to taste

Neutral oil to coat the pumpkin

Garnish such as scallions, nondairy sour cream, chopped apple

Directions:

1. Rinse the pumpkin and cut off the top as you would for a jack-o’-lantern, angling the knife toward the stem so that the lid you create rests on the rim without falling in.

2. Remove the seeds and stringy guts from the pumpkin. An ice cream scoop works well for this.

3. Using a paper towel or brush, oil the skin of the pumpkin and set the pumpkin in a pie plate.

4. In a high-speed blender, process the milk, broth, cashews, brandy (if using), syrup, spice, and cayenne on high for two full minutes. Then pour the mixture into the pumpkin. Add the spoonful of butter.

5. Put the lid back on the pumpkin and bake it at 375 degrees for 1 ½ hours. Check for doneness by removing the lid and poking the inside with a fork. Do not pierce the skin. The flesh should be very soft and tender. If it needs to bake longer, leave the lid off so you can watch it to prevent boiling over.

6. Remove the lid and use a large spoon to scrape some of the flesh into the soup mixture. Be careful not to poke through the side.

7. Use an immersion blender to blend the ingredients, being very careful not to break through the sides or bottom of the pumpkin. Once blended, taste for salt. How much salt you add depends on the saltiness of the broth you use, but you’ll definitely want to add at least a little.

8. Garnish the soup as you please and serve your guests straight from the pumpkin.

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