Growing up in Texas, I never really experienced the change in seasons like on the East Coast. In Fall, I love the crisp air, the colorful leaves, and the apple picking. One thing I never saw in Wichita Falls was a pumpkin patch. So, when I moved up north, I really took notice of them, and they became the definition of this time of the year for me. I often catch the first glimpses in the Hamptons, even before the summer’s technically over. Perhaps you remember these huge pumpkins from the last post.

No smashing pumpkins at Milk Pail!

From time to time, it’s nice to revisit old favorites and put a new spin on them. We can always find new ways to tweak a recipe, drape a scarf, or re-purpose a mug for a vase. But many times, fate backs us into a corner, and we must improvise!  That’s exactly what happened with my classic pumpkin soup recipe. You may recall the original post from the blog, 4 years ago.  And since we’re putting this in the new cookbook we needed a re-test, anyway, to see how the old gal stands up.

We began our prep and then realized we’d missed one key ingredient that I’m just so used to having on hand—cashews for the cashew creme. We thought we’d be able to use another non-dairy creamer, but when it came time to plating we realized it was far too thin to replace the original. In our search for alternatives, we wound up using pine nuts instead of cashews and the result was delicious! Tasting it on its own was a revelation—and once we combined it with the soup itself, it was magical! So, we’re delighted to share with you a mistake that turned great! You’ll notice, we also decided to add some pumpkin seeds to this version for a little extra crunch. If you have a pumpkin on hand all you need to do is roast them for a few minutes and toss them in a little salt, pepper, and olive oil.

Many thanks to Lior Lev Sercarz from La Boîte spice shop in New York City, who inspired the original! Enjoy, indulge, and share any of your own mistakes that turned great in the comments or on social media. Use #mistakesturnedgreat and tag @flirtingwithflavors We may feature a favorite on our next blog post!

Smoky Pumpkin Soup with Nut Cream
Smoky Pumpkin Soup with Nut Cream
Print Recipe Smoky Pumpkin Soup with Nut Cream
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Course: Comfort


Smoky Pumpkin Soup

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced leeks (white and pale green parts only)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped carrot
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 29-ounce can solid-pack pumpkin (not pie filling)
  • 2 tablespoons packed dark-brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon smoked cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 Nut Cream, for garnish
  • 4 sage leaves, for garnish
  • 2 Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 handful of toasted pumpkin seeds for garnish

Nut Cream

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 3/4 cup pine nuts


Smoky Pumpkin Soup

  • In a large, heavy-bottomed stockpot, heat the oil over medium heat.
  • Add the leek, carrot, onion, garlic, thyme and bay leaf.
  • Cover and cook, stirring once or twice, until slightly softened and browned, about 10 minutes.
  • Add the chicken stock, pumpkin, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  • Bring to a simmer, then partially cover, lower the heat and cook, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes, allowing flavors to develop.
  • Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Purée the soup (in batches, if necessary) using either a food mill, blender, food processor, or immersion blender.
  • Adjust seasoning as needed.
  • Divide soup evenly among 4 bowls and drizzle with the cashew cream.
  • Sprinkle with sage and toasted pumpkin seeds for garnish.

Nut Cream

  • In a blender or food processor, purée the pine nuts with the almond milk until thick and creamy. It doesn't have to be smooth--the bits of nut will add to the texture of the soup.