"The wild November comes at last." ~ R.H. Stoddard
I have a treat for you, just in time for the weekend. This beverage is like a warm, liquid hug, and maybe, just maybe it's just what you need right now. November can be tricky. All of the pretty leaves are gone, and those moody skies can be a bit much. I myself love a moody sky; shades of blue grey melancholy that seem to stretch on forever. I want to read mysteries and snuggle deep into flannel sheets. I want hot buttered toast with honey and my hands wrapped around mugs of delicious things to drink. I want slippers and sweaters and slumber so deep. It won't be long until the first flurries fly. I can smell it in the air tonight. I pull on my boots, wrap my scarf twice around my neck, fit my fingers into gloves. November may be wild, but I'm ready for whatever comes my way.
Seeing as it is the season for everything pumpkin, save a couple of tablespoons of the purée (yes, this latté has real pumpkin in it!) and whip yourself up your very own fancy coffee drink. Invite friends over to show off, if you like. Before you leave me, thinking you can't make this because you don't have an espresso machine, never fear. I don't own one either, and as long as you can make strong coffee, you're in business. It's got the right punch of warm spices, but isn't so sweet it'll hurt your teeth. My dentist is quite happy about that. The pepper sounds weird, right? But it's the best. Don't scrimp on the vanilla, that really is 2 tbsp, and if you want to switch up the milk to almond, soy, coconut, be my guest. I was all excited about adding the whipped cream for garnish, but wouldn't you know it had gone sour before the due date. I cursed a few words, but this drink is so good it stands alone not really needing the whip, unless of course you really need that hug, then I say go for it. Whipped cream never did anyone any harm. And it is November, after all.
Pumpkin Spice Latté
2 tbsp canned pumpkin purée
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice plus more for garnish
freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp cane sugar
2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups whole milk
1/4 cup espresso or 1/2 cup very strong brewed coffee
1/4 cup heavy cream, whipped until firm (optional)
In a small saucepan over medium heat, cook the pumpkin with pumpkin pie spice and a generous amount of black pepper until hot, about 2 minutes. Stir constantly. Add the sugar and cook until a bubbly thick syrup. Whisk in the milk and vanilla. Warm over medium heat, careful not to boil over. Carefully (it's hot!) with either an immersion blender or in a traditional blender (hold the lid down with towels) process until frothy. Prepare espresso or brewed coffee. Pour into 2 mugs. Top with hot milk mixture. Dollop with whipped cream, if using, and a sprinkling of pumpkin pie spice. Serves 2. Recipe adapted from The Kitchn.