Pumpkin purée is a phenomenal shortcut ingredient when you’re looking for a dose of fall in a flash. This beyond-easy soup comes together in 30 minutes, but it tastes like it’s been simmering on the stove for hours. The canned pumpkin gives the soup a creamy silky- sweetness, while the tart apple keeps it bright. The soup has gets a Tex-Mex spin with warm spices like cinnamon, chile powder and a pop of cayenne pepper. Serve it with a generous dollop of Mexican crema, plus warm crusty bread or griddled tortillas for dipping.
In a medium heavy-bottomed pot, heat ¼ cup of the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the apple and season generously with salt. Cook, stirring, until the apple begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the spices and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the pumpkin puree and stock and stir to combine. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to moderately-low and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes. Let cool slightly.
Meanwhile, in a small skillet, heat the remaining ¼ cup of olive oil over moderately-high heat. Working with 5 to 7 leaves at a time, fry the sage until crisp, 3 to 5 seconds. Using two forks, transfer the sage to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Season with salt. Repeat with the remaining sage leaves.
Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender until smooth. Be sure to hold the lid in place with a kitchen towel to protect your hand from any splatter. Return the soup to the saucepan. Alternatively, you can puree the soup right in the pot using an immersion blender. Stir in the apple cider vinegar and season with salt.
Ladle the soup into bowls and top with a dollop of Mexican crema, toasted pepitas and a few crispy sage leaves. Drizzle with more olive oil and garnish with cracked black pepper. Serve right away with lots of crusty bread.