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Susan S. Yeske: Recipe of the Week

Make your own pumpkin spice lattes

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The pumpkin spice latte has become as much an American tradition as jack-o-lanterns for Halloween and pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving.
Starbucks is credited with creating the seasonal favorite, although it’s likely that someone somewhere whipped them up at home before they were first sold nationally in 2003.
The first lattes were flavored with the warm spices of fall. It wasn’t until 2015 that Starbucks added actual pumpkin to its drinks.
You can make your own at home, which allows you to control all aspects of the process including how much sugar, what kind of milk, how much spice and whether to add pumpkin puree.
Below is a recipe to make your own pumpkin puree, which can be used in any recipe that calls for canned puree. This basic recipe is from inspiredtaste.net.

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte

2 cups milk (dairy or non-dairy)

2 tablespoons pumpkin puree, or more to taste (use canned or follow recipe below)

1 to 3 tablespoons sugar, depending on how sweet you like it

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, plus more for serving

½ cup strong hot coffee

whipped cream, for serving

  1. Add milk, pumpkin puree, and sugar to a saucepan over medium heat. Heat until hot, but do not boil. Remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in the vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, and the coffee.
  2.  Divide the mixture between two mugs. Top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice.

You can use pumpkin puree from the supermarket or take advantage of the pumpkins now in season at local farmers markets. Don’t try to cook your jack-o-lantern pumpkin; it has been crossbred for looks, not taste and is tough, tasteless and stringy. Look for cheese or sugar pumpkins or ask your farmer if you aren’t sure what kind is best. After you make it, you will have plenty of puree left for a pie, cookies or other treats.

Easy Pumpkin Puree from Scratch

1 small baking pumpkin, 4 to 6 pounds

fine sea salt, optional

  1. Heat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Rinse and pat dry the pumpkin. Cut the squash from stem to end, but don’t try to cut through the stem (it’s too tough). When you’ve cut through the pumpkin, just pull each half apart. We do this in two parts. Cut one side from the stem down to the bottom of the pumpkin. Remove the knife, rotate the pumpkin to the opposite side then do the same. When there is a slit down both halves of the pumpkin, put down the knife and pull the halves apart. They should separate at the stem.
  3.  Scoop out the seeds and most of the stringy bits. Lightly season the inside of the pumpkin halves with salt then place cut-side-down onto the baking sheet. Bake until the pumpkin can easily be pierced with a knife in several places and the flesh is pulling away from the skin, 45 to 60 minutes.
  4. Cool until you can safely handle the halves, then scoop out the soft flesh into a food processor — depending on how large the pumpkin is, you may need to do this in two batches. Process until very smooth, 3 to 5 minutes.

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