Fall brings with it cooler weather (eventually), less humidity (eventually) and a desire to stop eating summer food. Gone is interest in burgers on the grill and corn roasting in their husks, replaced by mouths set for chili, stews and and all things pumpkin.
Have you looked at all the products that are labeled pumpkin spice? Seems like they exploded on the shelves a week ago. Pumpkin spice coffee. That’s pretty good, if you make it strong enough. And if you don’t use syrup. The syrup is too sweet. I’d rather have a plain latte and shake a bit of pumpkin pie spice in it rather than have it ruined with sweet syrups.
Pumpkin Greek-style yogurt? That doesn’t even sound good. Pumpkin ice cream? Oh, yes, especially if it’s from our local Amish dairy. More butterfat than any human needs, but the flavor and mouth feel are perfect. Pumpkin cookies, pumpkin donuts, pumpkin pie.
We can get all kinds of fresh squash all summer, but it’s not until that first crisp evening that pumpkin pie sounds great. A bit of whipped cream on top. Maybe shaved dark chocolate if you want to try something different. Or roasted nuts, preferably walnuts or pecan. Maybe hazelnuts.
In our house, we have dueling recipes for pumpkin pie. Hubs loves a delicate pie made from Pennsylvania long-necked squash, cleaned, roasted and mashed. His is a delicate yellow custard. He bakes it for one holiday, either Thanksgiving or Christmas.
My recipe is richer, darker, spicier. I use brandy, double the cinnamon, cloves, allspice and mace. The brandy and extra cinnamon give the pie a hearty taste. Again, serve with brandied whipped cream and roasted nuts. My pie is dark in color. I get the alternate holiday.
Don’t get us wrong. We like each other’s pies, but we prefer the pies we grew up with. Kinda a kid thing, I guess. You like what you ate first.
As we transition into October, Halloween brings more pumpkin stuff. Jack O’Lanterns. Pumpkin lights to string over doors, cutouts of black cats with arched backs glaring at pumpkins, witches and ghosts hanging from trees and on front doors.
I nearly drove off the narrow country road I was on Saturday when I listened to an NPR program bemoaning all things pumpkin. Did you know there is pumpkin-colored nail polish? I didn’t. Don’t want to wear it. And there is a pumpkin spice hair color described as hints of dark orange with lighter hints of caramel. Really? Caramel? Really? Not what I want in my hair.
Anyway, fall is coming. So is the change in my tastebuds. Chili on tap for dinner tonight. Pumpkin pie maybe later in the week. If I don’t feel like baking, maybe I’ll dish out a scoop or two of pumpkin ice cream. Anyone care to join me?