For the pumpkin seeds:
- 1 cup pumpkin seeds (from the cut pumpkin)
- 1 tbs. maple syrup
- 1/2 tbs. soft brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 pinch ground black pepper
- 1 big pinch cayenne pepper
For the soup:
- 2 tbs. olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 550g pumpkin cut into 1inch cubes (about 2 heaping cups)
- 2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
- 1 tsp. saffron fronds
- 4 cups vegetable stock or water
- 2 tsp. grated orange zest
- 6 tbs. crème fraîche (optional)
- Salt and white pepper
First prepare the seeds. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Put the pumpkin seeds in a bowl with all the other ingredients, spread over the baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes, stirring a few times, until a nice, golden color. Set aside to cool.
Heat the oil in a Dutch oven. Add the onion and sauté over high heat for a minute, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft, sweet and golden brown, but not very dark.
Add the pumpkin cubes, carrots and saffron, pour in the vegetable stock (it should cover the vegetables) and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, until the pumpkin and carrots are almost tender. Add the orange zest and simmer for 5 minutes longer. When the vegetables are thoroughly cooked, purée the soup using an immersion/ hand blender Add extra water or stock if it is too thick. Season to taste.
Serve in shallow bowls and sprinkle with the caramelized seeds. You can add a dollop of crème fraîche if desired.