Falling for Pumpkin Spice
Fall is barely around the corner and out come the pumpkin spiced everything. Candles, pastries, lattes, candies and ...eeeerrr...hummus?!?!? America's obsession of pumpkin spice is undeniable and runs deep. Pumpkin spice is known as mixed spice in Britain. In America it came to be known as pumpkin spice as it is commonly used as the main spice blend in pumpkin pies. The spice blend in itself does not contain any pumpkin.
Pumpkin spice has long been used over decades in pumpkin cooking yet seems to have risen to fame over the last few. It is soon becoming symbolic of Americana like the picket white fence, apple pie and Uncle Sam. When fall arrives (or even prior), we quickly pack away our summer clothes, pull out the blankets, warm fuzzy slippers and load up on our pumpkin spice everything. It is fall with a statement. None of the other seasons get such a distinct welcoming as fall.
The seasonality of this blend is one of the biggest reasons for it's popularity and success. There is something about the limited time availability that makes people feel compelled to enjoy it while it lasts. Not only that but careful marketing has lead to pumpkin spiced items lining up shelves at the stores. And finally, Starbucks dotted the final "i" by introducing the Pumpkin spiced latte. Now we anxiously wait through 3 seasons to get our fix. But let me not put all the blame on the companies; it is a delicious blend after all.
My experience of "pumpkin" spice is really mixed spice. In Kenya, we commonly used mixed spice for our cakes, biscuits (cookies in the US) and custards. Native to North America, pumpkins and squashes are hardly ever found or used in Kenya and with the previous heavy British presence desserts were influenced by them. Mixed spice, also a seasonal favorite in Britain, was something we used all year round. With the equator running right through its middle, Kenya never experiences major seasonal changes.
It is in the recent years, I discovered (or rather paid attention to) Pumpkin spice and learnt of the ingredients, it was nostalgia for my old love of mixed spice. Making this blend was easy and very intuitive. It is one I am familiar with, love and have used innumerable times. A delicate blend of cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg and allspice are aromas one would love wake up to. It is a full sensory experience when having these spices in combination.
Whether we call it mixed spice or pumpkin spice clearly it is one that is loved world over. But hummus, seriously???
Pumpkin Spiced Tea Latte
3/4 cup water
1 teaspoon loose leaf black tea leaves
1/2 teaspoon One Good Knife Pumpkin Spice
2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 cup milk + 1/2 cup (for foam)
In a saucepan, on medium heat, boil the water.
Turn off the heat, add the tea leaves, sugar and One Good Knife Pumpkin Spice
Steep for 5 mins then strain.
In a pot mix 3/4 milk with the tea mix and bring to a boil.
Heat the 1/2 cup milk and froth using a frother.
Pour foam on the tea.
Drizzle some pumpkin spice on top and enjoy.