Recipe for Horchata Pumpkin Spice Latte – a beverage you MUST try at home
We usually have our family holiday in October, which is autumn or almost winter in Europe but full-blown winter for someone from India. On these holidays, I step into any cafe and my fav drink to order is the pumpkin spice latte. Just hugging this mug of hot beverage with my palms, the scent of the warming spices in the latte, and the general cosy sights and sounds of a coffee shop is just the most relaxing setting.
Who would have thought that such simple pleasures would be made out of reach by Covid? Having completed both my vaccinations a while ago, I have started venturing out, very gradually to not-so-crowded places. I have missed the outdoors, eating the food not made by me and in a setting that’s not my home 🙂 I’ve been seeing how the pub and restaurant scene in our cities is back to bustling and I’m not surprised. We have missed going out for a meal or a drink over the last 18+ months and now that the case numbers are low, it seems like a good time to get back cautiously. The F&B industry definitely needs this enthusiasm (although a careful one) to get back on its feet.
So, pumpkin spice latte or PSL as it is lovingly known, you do either love it or find it overrated. Most PSLs in cafes around the world have no P in PSL, but it’s the pumpkin pie spice mix that is used in the drink.
This spice mix mainly has ground cinnamon, with ground ginger, nutmeg and clove playing the supporting role. An ideal ratio would be 3 : 2 : 1 : 0.5 of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and clove respectively. The pumpkin spice mix can be easily made at home.
Making pumpkin spice mix at home
I usually have ground cinnamon and ground ginger (dried ginger powder or sonth) in my kitchen. Whole nutmeg can be grated and whole cloves combined with the remaining 3 ingredients and made into a fine powder in a spice grinder. Some even add star anise, green cardamom and black pepper, but I like to stick to these 4 spices. (This is the spice grinder I use)
You can easily buy a bottle of pumpkin spice online, but then you do need to find multiple uses to make use of the bottle.
The many uses for pumpkin spice mix
- In masala chai
- banana bread
- spiced cookies
- as a rub or a marinade in combination with other spices
- in pumpkin pie (of course!)
- a light sprinkling on any kind of beverage for its lovely aroma
- make your own pumpkin spice instant coffee blend by mixing the spice into a bottle of instant coffee granules
The inspiration for this Horschata Pumpkin Spice drink came from @lahbco’s Instagram. You can make this hot or cold depending on what you’re craving for.
I have once tried to make Horchata, a Latin American rice milk-based beverage and I’ve been dreaming of pumpkin-spiced beverages. It felt like a fun thing to combine the two. I sent this Instagram reel to Rukmini and we decided to try it out together. She made a cold version for the hot Mumbai day and me a hot version for a cold Bengaluru evening. Unlike the PSL or other PS drinks served in cafes, this one has real pumpkin puree and much less sugar.
Making the components of the Horchata Pumpkin Spice Latte
There are a few steps involved in the making of this beverage. But treat it as a fun project which makes your kitchen smell like a cafe. You’re going to love it.
- Making the horchata – here I prefer to soak the rice with a cinnamon stick for 4-5 hours. Grind it with lots of water to get a milk-like consistency. Pass through a muslin lined sieve a couple of times to filter out all the rice and cinnamon particles.
- Making the pumpkin puree – if you get canned pumpkin puree where you live, this step can be omitted. But it takes just a couple of minutes to cube and peel an orange pumpkin (around 2 cups worth), place it in a pressure cooker with 1/4 cup water. Pressure cook for 2 minutes. Remove and blend to a puree.
- Making the pumpkin spice mix – This can be easily bought, but freshly ground one definitely has a richer aroma. In a spice grinder, combine 1 tbsp of cinnamon powder, 2 tsp ginger powder, 1 tsp or less of grated nutmeg and 5-6 cloves. Blend to get a fine powder. You can sieve this powder a couple of times to remove any lumps or larger particles.
Also try: Mexican boozy hot chocolate for two
Once you’ve prepped these 3 components, you can make a horchata pumpkin spice latte in minutes. Consider this as a base mix with which you can make a number of different beverages. Check the recipe notes for the variations you can do.
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Horchata Pumpkin Spice Latte
- Pressure cooker
- Spice grinder
- 1 cup rice aromatic variety
- 1 cinnamon stick 2"
- 250 g pumpkin peeled, cubed
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
For pumpkin spice
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 - 1 tsp grated nutmeg
- 4-5 cloves
To make the latte
- 1/4 cup milk dairy / plant based
- 1/4 cup brewed coffee less, if you don't want it strong
- 1/2 cup prepared horchata mix
- sugar as needed
- Rinse rice multiple times and soak along with cinnamon stick in a bowl of water for 4-5 hours.
- Drain the rice and cinnamon. Transfer to a blender. Blend along with 500 ml water to get smooth milk-like consistency.
- Pass this mixture through a muslin lined sieve. Discard the coarse particles. This is the horchata.
- To prepare pumpkin puree, pressure cook the cubed pumpkin for 2 minutes with 1/4 cup water. When cool, remove to a mixer and blend to a puree.
- To prepare the pumpkin spice mix, combine cinnamon powder, ginger powder, grated nutmeg and cloves in a spice grinder. Grind to a fine powder. You can sieve this powder a couple of times to remove any lumps or larger particles.
- To prepare the base mix, combine horchata, pumpkin puree and 1 tsp of pumpkin spice in a pan along with sugar and bring to a gentle simmer. Thin with water if required to get the consistency of milk. This can be refrigerated at this stage or used to prepare any hot or cold pumpkin-spice beverages.
- To prepare a cup of the horchata pumpkin spice latte, combine 1/4 cup each of milk and 1/2 cup of the horchata mix and heat over a low flame, frothing it well with a coffee frother. Add a pinch of pumpkin spice to this and any extra sugar to your taste.
- Take 1/4 cup or less of brewed coffee in a cup. Add the heated mixture in the pan to the coffee. Stir. Serve warm.
- Serve cold instead of hot over ice cubes.
- Use brewed black tea instead of coffee
- Omit tea and coffee altogether and use only the horchata and milk.
- Make it vegan by using oat or almond milk.
- Use coconut milk instead of milk
- Add a shot of your fav liquor like Kahlua or Amaretto to your hot or cold beverage.
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