Is there anything better than the taste of fresh seasonal produce, particularly around the holiday season? For a delicious and different appetizer or dessert, incorporate hearty pumpkin with sweet chocolate and spices to wow your dinner guests. You can tailor the ingredients to make it more hearty or sweet, depending on the course you want to serve it with.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lay a sheet of foil over a large baking sheet.
Heat a saucepan over medium heat with the olive oil. Add the bacon slices (the amount depends on how much bacon you want as a garnish on each soup) and cook until crispy. Set aside to cool.
Chop each pumpkin into 4 chunks and scoop away the pulp and seeds. Brush each piece with some butter, using about half the ingredient amount. In a bowl, combine the orange juice, 2 tsp. sugar and half of the cinnamon (remember, you can vary the amounts of spices for a more savory or sweet soup). Brush this mixture over the pumpkin pieces.
Lay the pumpkins pieces cut side down on the foil on the baking sheet. Roast for an hour or until soft. Let cool then remove the skin.
Place the pumpkin in a food processor to puree. Pour into a large saucepan and add the apple juice, apple cider or wine, the rest of the sugar and spices. Simmer the mixture on medium heat, consistently whisking.
Add half and half, the rest of the butter, and the chocolate chopped up to a saucepan on medium heat and whisk until melted. Add this mixture to the pumpkin sauce pan and whisk together until combined. Let simmer for another five minutes. Add more half and half if you wish for more creaminess.
Chop up the cooled bacon into crispy bits.
Ladle the pumpkin chocolate soup into bowls and garnish with the chopped bacon, chocolate shavings and a little cayenne pepper if desired.