Horchata: Pumpkin Spice Edition

Pumpkin Spice Horchata: greater than the sum of its parts.

Pumpkin Spice Horchata: greater than the sum of its parts.

Pumpkin spice (known from here on out at “PS”) is a big deal. Sure the flavor has been grossly exploited and is found in everything from cat litter to chewing gum to Pringles. This disgusting excess does not make the idea behind PS any less delicious. At its most basic it’s a collection of spices (most heavily cinnamon and nutmeg) mixed with sugar and pumpkin. I can’t think of a bigger current American food trend, aside from bacon of course. It might surprise you to learn that cinnamon isn’t nearly as popular in desserts outside of North and Central America as it is right here at home. Cinnamon rolls are quintessential to our cuisine. And good ole’ PS is just the perfect concept of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger. The containers of “pumpkin spice” have been around for ages, then people started to add pumpkin and sugar to it and threw the whole shebang into some coffee. If you hate all the PS that’s around these days I don’t blame you. The fact that most of what you find is sickeningly sweet and cloyingly heavy and artificial tasting aren’t PS’s fault. We just need to take a hand in our food’s preparation. Do so and you’ll find out why pumpkin spice is more popular than any of the presidential nominees. Few experiences sum up fall better than a warm drink with heady exotic spices enjoyed on a brisk day. Makes you wanna get all cozy with that special someone.

Delicious horchata takes no effort and keeps great in the fridge.

Delicious horchata takes no effort and keeps great in the fridge.

Now lets be honest, how many of you are going to wake up and make yourself a latte everyday? Yeah, thought so. But you’d probably make yourself some drip or instant coffee. So why not make your own pumpkin spice syrup and have easy rich creamy coffees with aromatic cinnamon and hearty pumpkin to help you face the fact that the days are getting shorter? The syrup serves as my sweetener and part of my milk in regular coffees.

Pumpkin Spice Syrup:

Weight Watchers points: 1 for 2 TBL

1 1/2 cup water

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup real cinnamon in chip form or 4 sticks

1/2 tsp ginger powder

2 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg

1 tsp cloves

2 big glopping TBL of sweetened condensed milk

1/3 cup canned pumpkin puree

  1. Combing the water and sugar in a medium pot and bring to a hard boil. Lower heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Simmer for another 5 minutes on medium heat.
  3. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature. Strain into a jar and add the sweetened condensed milk and pumpkin. Stir or shake well to combine. Keep in the refrigerator.
Horchata is as easy and blending and waiting.

Horchata is as easy and blending and waiting.

Horchata basic recipe:

1 cup raw long grain brown rice

5 cups warm water

pinch salt

1/2 cup milk (optional)

2 tablespoons simple syrup (optional)

fresh ground cinnamon to serve

  1. In a blender combine the rice, water, and salt. Blend for about 30-60 seconds depending on the strength of your blender. You want the rice ground up.
  2. Let this mixture sit at room temp for about 4 hours. Strain, add the milk and simple syrup if using, and chill in the refrigerator.
  3. Sweeten if desired, serve chilled or over ice sprinkled with cinnamon
This recipe moves quick.

This recipe moves quick.

Pumpkin Spice Horchata varation:

Add 1-2 tablespoons of PS syrup to taste to each cup of horchata. Stir well and enjoy chilled topped with cinnamon.

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If you’re gonna have pie, you gotta have ice cream

Ice cream, yo.

Ice cream, yo.

Did I mention I hate to let anything go to waste? Hate hate HATE it? So when I found out I could steep fresh peach pits in cream and make lightly peach scented ice cream I knew I had to do it. While my own homemade almond extract is not going to be ready until Christmas at the earliest I still have some store bought left over. There is nothing like the menage a trois of peaches, cream, and almond. It’s divine. Assuming you have an ice cream maker making ice cream at home is stupid easy. Its easier than making frozen custard, which is often mistaken for ice cream. Whats the difference you ask? Egg yolks, baby. Sweet, fatty, golden yellow, emulsifying egg yolks.

Seriously, save these guys.

Seriously, save these guys.

Ice cream can technically be made in one day, but I always give frozen custard overnight to chill. I do the same with any infused ice creams, like this one, so plan to make it the day before you want to eat it. It’s really really ridiculously easy to just steep some peach pits from your pie making at the same time you are making said pie. Let it sit overnight with your pie dough and then “spin” (the term used in professional kitchens for churning ice cream) your ice cream while you form your pie. You could spin your ice cream at the same time as your pie is baking but even with as awesome as the Cuisinart and KitchenAid ice cream makers are if the high heat of the oven makes your kitchen warm your ice cream will suffer. Avoid this issue by spinning your ice cream (a lovely hands off 20-30 minutes) while you are rolling pie dough, which also benefits from a cold kitchen.

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