This hearty New England soup includes a buttercup squash base, apples and maple syrup for sweetness, and curry and cayenne pepper for hints of spice.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together sour cream, maple syrup, 2 tablespoons water, and a pinch of salt. Cover; refrigerate.
In another bowl, toss pumpkin seeds with 2 teaspoons salt. Spread evenly over baking pan. Toast in oven until seeds are golden and begin to pop, 7 to 10 minutes. Set aside.
Butter a 9-by-13-by-2-inch baking dish. Place squash, cut side down, and 1/2 cup water in dish. Bake until tender, about 1 hour. Let cool 45 minutes. Remove seeds, peel, and set aside.
In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, melt butter. Add onions, celery, and carrots; cook, stirring, until onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add brown sugar and spices; cook, stirring, 5 minutes. Add apples and brandy; cook 10 minutes. Add squash and 12 cups water; simmer 1 hour. Let cool 30 minutes. Puree in food processor until smooth. Add honey, salt, and pepper to taste; pulse to combine.
To serve, garnish with a dollop of maple cream, and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds.