A few weeks ago, something I’ve been waiting for for years finally happened, much to the delight of not only me, but a lot of the UK – the pumpkin spice latte finally showed up in our green and pleasant land.
The autumn pumpkin phenomenon is maybe not one that sits comfortably in the UK. We don’t really do pumpkins. We don’t eat them – they show up in supermarkets for a couple of weeks a year, ready for us to carve them and fawn over them as if we’re celebrating Halloween just like true Americans. An American Guardian writer even warned us off the orange spheres of autumn.
So of course, despite my excitement, I was also a little cynical.
It was warming. It was spicy. It was like a disco on your tongue. The next day, I wanted another one, but I know first hand that even a mild Starbucks addiction ain’t good for the old bank balance.
So instead of buying it…I made it. My inner cheapskate is leaping with joy.
Although it’s not so easy to get hold of in the UK, Libby’s canned pumpkin is available – recently, selected House of Fraser stores stocked a range of American foods. You can also order it online from a variety of sources, listed here. When you compare it to how much you’d pay for even just one grande, it seems a lot more reasonable!
Recipe slightly adapted from Cook like a Champion.
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 cinnamon sticks
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 tablespoons pumpkin purée
1) Combine water and sugar in a medium size pan, at a medium temperature, and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Drop in the cinnamon sticks, and the remaining ingredients, whisk, and leave to simmer on a low heat for 5-10 minutes.
2) Take off the heat and allow to cool. When lukewarm, strain the mixture through cheesecloth or a hankerchief (clean please!). The fabric might need a little squeeze at the end to make sure all that delicious syrup comes through!
3) Store in an airtight bottle – I got this sloe gin bottle from Lakeland for £3.99 – and use about 2 tbsp in your morning latte! Enjoy.