Making your own pumpkin spice mix from scratch
… and my journey to make pumpkin spiced everything !
starting with pumpkin spiced latté.
I had such a huge batch of pumpkin spice that I bought in Amsterdam that I didn’t have to make my own until now. I love to mix it into everything from yoghurt bowls, ice-cream, smoothies and porridge in breakfast. I’ve realised that I never had it anything hot, so I’ll start with a latté and then start cooking or baking it.
Over the past few years I’ve been reading recipes for the spice mix, and for dishes that use it. Pumpkin spiced latté, pie, butter, cheesecake, bread, mousse, coffee cake, even pumpkin martini !
It’s time to start ! An old friend came for coffee today – I knew she likes her spices as much as me so that was my excuse to make my first pumpkin spiced latté. I found shop bought ones too sweet, and wasn’t sure exactly what was in it… how processed the ingredients were… so I’m so glad I know now how to make my own. We had two large cups each, over a long awaited 3 hour chat… I felt I’d eaten a whole meal !
My ‘pumpkin’ roasted – scooped into a bowl, before blending, plus, my spice mix. On this island it’s not easy to find a pumpkin / squash ! I bought a ‘piece’ of Calabaza, not a round pumpkin but one of thouse gourd shaped ones… is that a pumpkin or a squash?! Anyway it was really tasty.
1. Grind your spices from whole to powdered when you can – the smell and taste is fresher, smells amazing, and so much better for you.
2. The large jack o’ lantern style pumpkins wont be as tasty, so if you can, use a small pumpkin or gourd shaped one ( I used the green stripy one).
3. Have a nice ball jar, mason jar, or jam jar ready to put your spice into, so that it will last longer. In fact you can pop the spices in fro the beginning and just give the jar a good shake to mix them up.
4. Pre-roast your pumpkin or squash, and leave it in the fridge to use.
5. Dehydrate thin slices of fresh ginger in the oven for 2-3 hrs on 50℃ the take them out of the oven when they’re dried ( crispy dry, not rubbery and not browned ). Don’t do what I did ! I left them in there after I turned the oven off, went to bed, then next morning forgot all about them and preheated the oven for brunch and accidentally cooked the ginger !
6. It might look a bit cheffy to lay all the ingredients out in little dishes, but I’m a visual person and I like things organised before I cook. So like to put all my prepped ingredients into little bowls or ramekins before I start. It makes it much easier to put the recipe together, and easier for me to remember all the contents for next time too.
7. If you possibly can, use real cinnamon- it’s better for you, more delicate and has a much nicer flavour. Which is the real one – Ceylon cinnamon ( from Sri Lanka ). The other type is Cassia cinnamon. Both are good and healthy but… I’ll write a post on this soon. What you need to know now is, if you’re consuming a lot of cinnamon then the ceylon one is better for you because it has less of the harmful element (coumarin) in it. This is probably why there’s a generally known recommendation to take no more than 1/2 – 1 teaspoon of cinnamon a day.
Did you know that about half of the world’s pumpkins ( including squash and gourds0 comes from China and India ! I started looking into this when I finally found my best selection of pumpkin and gourd in the local Chinese supermarket… after I made the latté in this post. So the journey continues. They claim they’re much tastier than the Spanish ones of course so I bought one to see. They call then Nán Guā. I bought a “bebe nán guā” ! Perfect.
Hand blender and blending jug, or counter-top liquidiser blender for the pumpkin blending and latte making. A grinder / pulveriser for the spices.
( I used my Bamix hand blender with it’s mini processor and pulverizing disk- so I had everything I needed all in one tool.)
Oven proof dish, roasting tin or pyrex dish for cooking the pumpkin.
A small milk pan (i.e. one with a lip for pouring) to heat the latté.
If you’ve got one of those powerful counter-top blenders or soup makers that heats at the same time as blending, then you don’t need the hand blender, the stove.
MY PUMPKIN SPICE MIX: top left ground pepper, top right cardamon, middle left nutmeg, middle right cloves, bottom left cinnamon, bottom right ginger.
Pumpkin spice ingredients
in order of quantity used
Ground Allspice berry (optional)
Ground pepper (optional)
Ground cardamon (optional)
A note about Allspice
All spice is not a combination of other spices. It’s actually a single berry from the Jamaican Bayberry tree, or Pimenta Dioica in Spanish ( seeing as it was Columbus that brought it back here !) It’s tree from the Myrtle family and produces a warming spice and is the main ingredient in jerk seasoning. It smells and tastes like a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove. So if you can’t get it as a single ingredient, it’s often replaced by an equal amount of these plus a touch of pepper.
Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves in equal measure ( or half the last 2 if you prefer cinnamon)
Pumpkin Latté ingredients
Milk ( nut or moo )
Vanilla extract- optional
Sugar / syrup / sweetener – optional
Hot espresso coffee
Whipped cream – optional!
Pumpkin spice recipes
Be sure to go right to the bottom of the page to see the links to my sources and inspirations.
I made up the following 2 recipes. Each one made enough for 2 -3 mugs of pumpkin spiced latté.
They were very different. The Betty Crocker one smelt like a ‘spiced cinnamon’. The minimalist baker one didn’t have any dominant smell, even though the main spice was still cinnamon. I tested them with a friend and we both loved the minimalist baker one best – it was complex and we both love our spices ! So we used that one first.
Make your own customised version
After making 4 cups of it, I mixed the remaining spices with the Betty Crocker mix, and now I feel I have the perfect combo. I did the maths, then simplified it to this simple personal recipe to try next.
4 tablespoons cinnamon, 4 teaspoons ginger, 3 teaspoons nutmeg, 2 teaspoons clove, pinch cardamon, pinch pepper .
Note: a pinch = 1/8 teaspoon
I’ll come back here and let you know how it goes !
So the message is to try whichever appeals, or deviate a little if you like. Use more of the spices you like and less of the ones you don’t like and make your own customised version. These are a great guide to get you started.
How to make pumpkin spice, pumpkin purée, pumpkin latté
Step 1: Spice mix method.
Just mix the spices in a bowl, or pop them in a jar and shake till they’re all mixed. They should keep fresh in a sealed jar for at least 6 months.
Step 2: Pumpkin purée mix method.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180℃.
- Slice the pumpkin in half, or slice the squash.
- If you have seeds, take then out (save for roasting these later ), pop the ‘meat’ in an oven dish.
- Smear with a little butter and sprinkle of sea salt flakes.
- Roast till cooked (soft and golden brown ). Takes 20-40 mins depending on the size of your pieces.
- Remove from the oven and when cool, scrape the nice soft pumpkin paste away from the skin. Discard or eat the skins – you just won’t want them in the purée.
Step 3: Pumpkin latté method… makes 2 large mugs.
Whisk or blend together…
2 cups of milk
1/2 cup espresso – that was 2 ristrettos from our Nespresso machine.
1/2 – 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice depending on how spicy you like it.
1 tablespoon vanilla extract ( I only use this if I have it – and it makes it more like the ones you buy but I don’t need it if I add a little sweetener- see variations below).
2 -3 tablespoons pumpkin purée depending on how strong and thick you want it. I find 2 is enough for me – too much can sometimes mean the pumpkin stays at the bottom of the cup.
Step 4: ENJOY!
Heat the pumpkin latté in a small pan, stirring all the time, and serve.
pumpkin purée…I’m really pleased with my squash choice – it was really tasty and the colour was a vibrant orange ! Of course, most recipes online use shop bought pumpkin purée. If that’s where you are on your own journey, go for it. Check if it’s sweetened already though as the recipes on this page use unsweetened pumpkin purée.
Not strong enough pumpkin flavour… one of the recipes I looked at said just to add more than in the recipe, or cook it down to a more concentrated version. I found that made the latte too thick – and if you add more milk again that defeats the purpose. So make sure you’re using a pumpkin that isn’t too bland ( see tips above). Add a pinch of salt too if you want to bring out a flavour.
Creamy top… personally I don’t like whipped cream on top – it’s overkill for me so you don’t need it. Doesn’t look as fancy but it still taste divine ! One recipe did advise mixing soaked raw cashews into the mix to make a non-diary creamy version. I’ll try that next !
Sweetener…not everyone needs it sweet so have a taste toward the end and add what you need. A little sweetness goes a long way to making this feel so wholesome though.
I vary it depending on what I fancy or what I have in the cupboard. I found a dollop of Agave or maple syrup was just perfect. I’ve also had it with just a big spoonful of my home-made stevia water (made from the dried leaves). I also tried some apple purée in the mix and with that you don’t need to add any other sweetener… just be careful to blend it well first if you don’t want some apple pieces in your drink.
main sources and inspiration
Minimalist baker – I liked her spicy mix best, to begin with, but prefer the slightly warmer combination once I mixed the remaining mix with the Betty crocker recipe. However, I still might make her pumpkin butter recipe next.
Betty Crocker – I didn’t favour the pumpkin spice mix here as it had too much cinnamon and not complex enough for me. However you might like this Betty Crocker recipe if you just want to make the pie from scratch, without needing to make up a batch of pumpkin spice mix first !
Blendergirl – She has gone all vegan with her latté recipe here, and is the inspiration for cashew nuts to make it creamy. I’ll try her latté recipe next.
I’ve been sprinkling and mixing my pumpkin spice on warm oranges; with my yoghurt with berries, nuts and seeds; with vanilla ice-cream; in my overnight oats with stewed apples and sunflower seeds; and today, I mixed it with some stewed apple, psyllium husks, and steeped linseeds to make a thick jam for my sourdough toast.
What will you do with yours? I’d love to know – please use the comments or email to keep in touch, if you’re a subscriber.
Warm spiced oranges
I love this for a winter breakfast, or a summer evening dessert. Click over for the recipe.