was always my least favorite Spice Girl, coming in even
after Sugaran’ Spice.
something about that pumpkin-spice combination of cinnamon,
ginger, cloves and nutmeg that offends my delicate
sensibilities, and it is not the flavors themselves. The
actual taste is wonderful.
is its ubiquity. First there was pie, which is how Nature
intended pumpkin spice to be used. But then came pumpkin
spice lattes, pumpkin spice Greek yogurt, pumpkin spice
cereal, pumpkin spice (and sage) ravioli and even pumpkin
spice dental floss.
who lives near Washington, D.C., swears she saw a sign there
for pumpkin spice pizza.
pumpkin spice is not going to go away on its own. And so,
like other things that will not go away on their own —
appendicitis, leprosy, the Tanganyika Laughter Epidemic of
1962 — it has to be dealt with.
So I dealt
with it by making a handful of dishes that are actually good
uses of pumpkin spice. I also made my own pumpkin spice mix
to use in most of these recipes, because it was ridiculously
easy to do.
I started off
with a savory dish, figuring that everything else would be
dessert. But when you are dealing with pumpkin spice, even
something savory can turn out to be a little sweet.
Butternut Squash Soup is a clever idea. It takes regular
butternut squash soup, which is plenty easy to make, and
adds two complementary ingredients: maple syrup and pumpkin
makes sense, of course, because it is so often added to
roasted butternut squash to bring out an irresistibly nutty
taste. And not enough is used to make it cloying; just two
tablespoons for four to six generous servings.
pumpkin spice is a flash of genius. It doesn’t take much
— just half a teaspoon for up to six servings — to put
an autumnal sheen to the soup. It is thick, hearty and
ultimate expression of pumpkin spice that is not a pie or a
latte is a cheesecake. I started with a Paula Deen recipe
that was already good, eliminated some of the butter from
the crust (because, you know, it’s Paula Deen, and the
butter literally leaks out of the pan if you use the amount
she calls for) and added a bunch of cheesecake tricks to
make it great.
experienced cooks can sometimes have problems with their
cheesecakes either cracking on top or being lumpy inside.
That’s where the cheesecake tricks come in.
To keep the
top from cracking, you should cook the cheesecake in a water
bath; in other words, the cheesecake pan should be placed
inside another pan that has boiling water in it (it’s
easiest to put the one pan inside the other before you add
the water). To keep water from seeping into the bottom of
the springform pan, line the outside with aluminum foil.
To make a
cheesecake nice and smooth, the cream cheese, sour cream and
eggs have to be at room temperature, which means leaving
them out for four to five hours. The eggs should be added
last and stirred in by hand just until it is combined.
came out perfect — creamy and incredibly rich. And the
pumpkin spice flavor, which in this recipe is created with
cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, somehow made it better with a
touch of seasonal delight.
occurred to me to make a spice cake with pumpkin spice, but
I decided against it as being too obvious. So instead I went
the brownie route and made Pumpkin Blondie Bars.
part is straightforward; it is not much different from a
regular blondie, but with pumpkin purée and a dash of
pumpkin spice. Where these bars really shine is in the
topping, a swirled mixture of a cream cheese topping and the
This is not
an overly sweet dessert. It does not have too much pumpkin,
it does not have too much pumpkin spice, it does not have
too much cream cheese, if there could possibly be such a
thing. It is just right.
the pumpkin spice was beginning to get to me, because I
decided also to make PSL Jell-O Shots. That’s PSL, as in
pumpkin spice latte, and yes, I said Jell-O shots.
I was a little surprised that they turned out to be so good.
But when you think about it, why wouldn’t they be?
They are just
a mixture of coffee, Kahlúa, heavy cream and just enough
pumpkin spice, turned semi-solid in gelatin. It really is
like pumpkin spice latte Jell-O.
They are not
just fun to eat, they are also delectable. In fact, pumpkin
spice has, in me, a new convert.
expect me to like pumpkin spice pizza.
1 cup sour
cream, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups
plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
vanilla extract, divided
teaspoons kosher salt, divided
2 sticks (1
cup) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the pan
1 1/2 cups
packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
can unsweetened pumpkin puree
oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-13-inch pan and line with
parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang.
the cream cheese in a medium, microwave-safe bowl in
15-second bursts, stirring after each one until smooth but
not hot. Whisk in the sour cream, 2 tablespoons of the
flour, granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon of the vanilla and 1/2
teaspoon of the salt until smooth. Set aside.
3. In a small
bowl, whisk the remaining 2 1/2 cups flour, pumpkin spice
and the remaining teaspoon of the salt until well combined.
4. In a
separate large bowl, whisk together melted butter and brown
sugar until smooth, then whisk in egg and remaining 1
teaspoon vanilla. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber
spatula, then whisk in pumpkin puree and scrape down sides
again. Whisk in the flour mixture until no streaks remain.
about 1/2 cup of the blondie batter, spread batter evenly in
the prepared pan. Spread the cream cheese topping on top,
leaving a 1/2-inch border. Scatter dollops of the reserved
blondie batter on top of the cream cheese topping; then use
a chopstick, butter knife or toothpick to swirl the blondie
batter and cream cheese layers together. Be careful not to
overmix — the idea is to get pretty swirls of the two
without combining them too much.
6. Bake until
a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few
crumbs, 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan,
then cut into bars and serve.
321 calories; 19 g fat; 11 g saturated fat; 61 mg
cholesterol; 5 g protein; 34 g carbohydrate; 16 g sugar; 1 g
fiber; 136 mg sodium; 59 mg calcium
PUMPKIN PIE SPICE
Yield: 2 1/2
ingredients. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry
place for up to 6 months.
1 cup coffee
2/3 cup Kahlúa
1/3 cup heavy
pumpkin spice, plus more for garnish
cream, for garnish
1. In a small
saucepan, bring coffee to a boil. Remove from heat and whisk
in gelatin. Add Kahlúa, heavy cream and pumpkin spice, and
whisk to combine.
mixture evenly among 10 plastic shot glasses. Transfer to
refrigerator to set, about 1 hour. When fully set, top with
whipped cream and a dusting of pumpkin pie spice before
36 calories; 3 g fat; 2 g saturated fat; 9 mg cholesterol; 1
g protein; 1 g carbohydrate; 1 g sugar; no fiber; 4 mg
sodium; 8 mg calcium
BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP
Yield: 4 to 6
pumpkin spice mix
or sour cream for garnish, optional
oven to 400 degrees. Place whole squash on baking tray and
bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hours or until a knife pokes through
skin easily. Remove from oven and let cool. Cut in half
lengthwise and scoop out seeds; then scoop out flesh into a
blender or food processor (you may have to do this in
vegetable broth, pumpkin pie spice, salt and maple syrup.
Blend until smooth. Heat in pot before serving. Drizzle each
bowl with coconut cream or sour cream, if desired.
(based on 4): 92 calories; 2 g fat; 1 g saturated fat; 4 mg
cholesterol; 2 g protein; 19 g carbohydrate; 10 g sugar; 1 g
fiber; 802 mg sodium; 62 mg calcium
Yield: 12 to
(3/4 stick) salted butter, plus more for greasing pan
1 3/4 cups
graham cracker crumbs
light brown sugar
ground cinnamon, divided
packages cream cheese, room temperature, see note
can pureed pumpkin
1/4 cup sour
cream, room temperature, see note
1 1/2 cups
3 eggs plus 1
egg yolk, room temperature (see note)
best results, the cream cheese, eggs and sour cream must be
at room temperature. Let them sit on the counter for 4 to 5
hours before cooking. If the cream cheese still feels a bit
chilly, microwave it for 15 seconds until it is very smooth
but not hot.
oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch
springform pan with butter. Melt the remaining 6 tablespoons
butter. Melt the remaining 6 tablespoons of butter.
2. In a
medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar and
1/2 teaspoon of the cinnamon. Add the melted butter and stir
until well-combined. Press down flat into the bottom of the
prepared springform pan. Set aside.
3. Beat cream
cheese thoroughly until absolutely smooth and creamy; a
hand-held or stand mixer will work best. Add pumpkin puree,
sour cream, granulated sugar, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon
cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, stirring or whisking until
mixed. Add flour and vanilla; beat until well-combined. Beat
the eggs and add, stirring by hand until just combined. Do
4. Put some
water on to boil. Wrap bottom of pan with aluminum foil,
coming up at least a few inches on all sides. Pour custard
into crust and spread out evenly. Place pan in a larger pan
and pour in boiling water between them until it comes
halfway up the sides of the springform pan, but is below the
top of the aluminum foil. Cook in oven for 1 hour. Remove
from oven and remove springform pan from water bath. Let sit
15 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least
(based on 12): 589 calories; 48 g fat; 28 g saturated fat;
194 mg cholesterol; 10 g protein; 32 g carbohydrate; 25 g
sugar; 1 g fiber; 419 mg sodium; 139 mg calcium
a recipe by Paula Deen