Love a Latte
By Carol J. Alexander
This is the time of year when just the word pumpkin makes people swoon. For a holiday morning treat, add pumpkin to a latte. The recipe below uses pumpkin you process yourself, rather than the canned variety. Kids can help you dig out pulp and roast seeds. (Find a recipe for a child-friendly, coffee-free pumpkin “latte” here.)
How to Process Pumpkin
Begin with choosing a medium-sized cooking pumpkin. (The overly large, jack-o-lantern varieties are more water and seeds than meat; they tend to be stringy inside and are not as sweet.)
Wash the pumpkin and remove the stem. Put it on a cookie sheet and place in the oven so that it is centered from top to bottom. Bake at 325°F for about an hour, or until you can insert a fork through the skin. The length of cooking time will vary depending on the size of the pumpkin.
Remove the pumpkin from the oven and allow it to cool. I bake my pumpkins whole because I’m not strong enough to cut them beforehand. After baking, they cut like butter.
Cut your pumpkin in half, remove the seeds and pulp, and set aside for snacking. Peel the skin from the flesh. Compost the skins and cut the pumpkin meat into chunks.
To Make Pumpkin Puree
Place your chunks of pumpkin in a thick-bottomed pot with a few inches of water. Simmer until all the water is cooked out and the volume is about half. Stir frequently to prevent scorching.
You can use the puree instead of canned pumpkin in your favorite pies, muffins, cakes, cookies, and soups. Freeze in quantities suitable for your favorite recipes. (It will keep in the freezer for six to eight months.) Ice cube trays make the perfect container for freezing small amounts for recipes, like the one that follows that only use a little at a time.
Pumpkin-Spice Latte for Two
- 1 ½ cups whole milk
- 2 tablespoons of pumpkin puree
- 1–2 tablespoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 cup strong, hot coffee
- 1 tablespoon half-and-half cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Whipped cream
- Heat the milk, pumpkin, and sugar until hot but not boiling.
- Remove from heat and add the spice, coffee, cream, and vanilla.
- Pour into two mugs. Top with whipped cream. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
What About Those Seeds?
- To roast the seeds, remove them from the pulp, wash, and dry.
- Spread on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and paprika. For a sweet flavor, sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Or try your favorite popcorn seasoning.
- Bake at 325°F for about ten minutes or until golden and crispy.
Carol J. Alexander is the author of Homestead Cooking with Carol: Bountiful Make-ahead Meals (BookBaby, 2014).