The first explorers, including Jacques Cartier, confused the squash (Curcubita) of the New World with melons, which were of European origin. Squash soon crossed the Atlantic, and by the 17th century, pumpkins and other varieties of squash were well-known in Europe. Recipes for squash can be found in cookbooks dating from the mid-17th century. Bonnefons, as an example, devotes an entire chapter to them in his Délices de la campagne, first published in 1654. Marie de l’Incarnation, an Ursuline, used them to make soups, preserves and fritters the European way.
- 3 tbsp | 45 ml butter
- 1½ lbs | 675 g pumpkin, cut in cubes
- ½ tsp | 2 ml salt
- 4 cloves
- ½ tsp | 2 ml nutmeg
- 5 cups | 1.2 litres water
- ½ cup | 125 ml whipping cream (35%)
- Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Season the cubes of pumpkin with the salt, cloves and nutmeg, then brown for 5-7 minutes. Turn up the heat, add the water, and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Lower the heat and simmer 30-35 minutes, covered. Let cool slightly, then run the pumpkin through a blender or food processor.
- Warm the cream over medium heat without letting it boil. Blend a few spoonfuls of the pumpkin with the cream. Slowly whisk this mixture into the soup and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring constantly.
- To serve, pour over a slice of thick bread.