There is no denying that, collectively, early American colonists had a sweet tooth. Sugar and other sweeteners were expensive and dishes containing them were considered a luxury. Maple syrup was the sweetener of choice in New England, but molasses, honey, or cane syrup might have been used elsewhere. Serves 6 to 8.
2 tablespoons (30 ml) butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 rib celery, finely chopped
4 cups (1 L) chicken or vegetable stock
2 cups (500 ml) fresh or canned pumpkin puree (unsweetened)
2 cups (500 ml) half-and-half or milk
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) ground ginger
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
For the garnish:
1/2 cup (125 ml) heavy cream whipped to soft peaks with
2 tablespoons (30 ml) maple syrup
Heat the butter in a large pot over moderate heat and sauté the onion and celery until tender but now brown, about 5 minutes.
Add the stock and pumpkin puree and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently.
Reduce the heat to low and stir in the half-and-half, ginger, salt, and pepper.
Bring back to a simmer but do not boil.
Serve garnished with a dollop of the maple cream.