I blame Starbucks.
Really, wasn't it the first to trot out the pumpkin spice latte as a seasonal drink?
And now things have gotten out of hand.
Today we have Pumpkin Spice Hershey’s Kisses and Pumpkin Spice Oreos. IHOP has a pumpkin praline pancake made with both pumpkin and pumpkin spice.
Pumpkins, pretty much squashes on steroids, have been around for centuries.
Now pumpkin spice has no actual pumpkin in it. The reason you think it does is because pumpkin spice is a mixture of spices, usually cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and allspice that goes into pumpkin to make the pie filling. (Here’s an easy recipe.) So the pumpkin spice latte (and those Oreos) remind you of pumpkin pie — sans the pumpkin.
Pumpkins, pretty much squashes on steroids, have been around for centuries and have appeared in literature as far back as Shakespeare’s Merry Wives of Windsor. In America the natives ate pumpkins and wove strips of pumpkins into mats. According to the University of Illinois it was the colonists who first made pumpkin pie by slicing off the top, scooping out the seeds, adding honey and spices and baking the whole thing in hot ashes.
Frankly, I think the whole pie crust thing was a vast improvement.
Today pumpkin pies are ubiquitous with the Thanksgiving season and start turning up on menus and dinner tables around Halloween. But, just like pumpkin spice, there are lots of dishes that can be made from the nutritious pumpkin innards.
JerryBuilt Homegrown Burgers is pumpkin crazed this time of year. Not only are pumpkin items on the menu at the Houston locations, the West University store is hosting a pumpkin patch and farmers market Oct. 25 and 26. Proceeds will benefit the Houston Humane Society.
As for the menu, they’ve got pumpkin bread with spiced pumpkin pecan ice cream, an autumn salad topped with toasted pumpkin seeds, spiced pumpkin pecan milk shakes and even pumpkin beer. That’s a lot of pumpkin. Saint Arnold Brewing Company also puts out Imperial Pumpkin Stout this time of year.
If you’re in Pearland check out Killen’s Steakhouse where it has a delicious pumpkin bread pudding on the October menu made with cayenne-spiced candied pecans . . . and pumpkin, of course.
And because pumpkin works really well in desserts, most of your favorite bakeries will be featuring some seasonal goodies fresh from the oven.
Dessert Gallery has pumpkin tortes, pumpkin cheesecakes, pumpkin pie truffles and pumpkin cookies.
Over at Ooh La La there’s also pumpkin cheesecake as well as pumpkin pies and pumpkin rolls come Nov. 1.
Shop, dine out or get creative in your own kitchen with the remnants of that Jack O’Lantern. Use that pumpkin goodness in your own pies or just roast the seeds (mix with melted butter and salt first) and you’ve got an easy seasonal snack.