Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte

Spice up your morn­ing with one of these lattes.

Pump­kins, nat­ive to North Amer­ica, have al­ways played an im­port­ant part in Thanks­giv­ing meals. Evid­ently, the first set­tlers were not dazzled by the Amer­ic­an In­di­ans’ gift to them of pump­kins. But after scourge, pes­ti­lence and death, the col­on­ists who sur­vived the first harsh winter here changed their tune. Pump­kins be­came an im­port­ant food source. 

Back­yard plant­ing alert for next sea­son: Grow pump­kins, beans and corn like the Nat­ive Amer­ic­ans. Called “The Three Sis­ters,” these plants have a sym­bi­ot­ic re­la­tion­ship. The corn stalks sup­port the bean vines while the pump­kin leaves shade the roots of the corn. This gives mois­ture to the corn, while the bean plant provides ni­tro­gen to the soil.

Sup­posedly, the first pump­kin pie was made in the 1620s by Ply­mouth Plant­a­tion’s set­tlers who filled hol­lowed pump­kins with milk, honey and spices and then cooked them in burn­ing ashes. In 1653, pastry crust was ad­ded to the pie by a French chef, Fran­cois Pierre la Var­enne, whose cook­book was the first French cook­book trans­lated and pub­lished in Eng­land. (Ooh-la-la, the French and their but­ter!) In 1796, an Amer­ic­an cook­book was pub­lished, and it fea­tured a pump­kin pud­ding re­cipe that was more like what we en­joy today as pump­kin pie. Libby’s Fam­ous Pump­kin Pie re­cipe, found on the back of the can of their 100-per­cent Pure Pump­kin, is my go-to re­cipe when mak­ing pump­kin pie. In my opin­ion, it’s pretty hard to beat.   

Lately, be­sides pies, cakes, cook­ies, breads, soups and dips, pump­kins have found their way in­to cof­fee and lattes. Or maybe not. 

It seems Star­bucks, along with copycat latte re­tail­ers, are miss­ing a key in­gredi­ent in their Pump­kin Spice Lattes. Ap­par­ently, they left out the pump­kin. Nat­ur­al and ar­ti­fi­cial fla­vors are among the in­gredi­ents, but pump­kin is not. 

Oh, and how could I have for­got­ten pump­kin beer? It seems the Pil­grims were the ori­gin­al beer geeks – mak­ing the likes of our cur­rently pop­u­lar pump­kin beer/ales. A poem dat­ing to the 1630s tells it this way.

    “If Bar­ley be want­ing to make in­to Malt

    We must be con­ten­ted and think it no Fault,

    For we can make li­quor to sweeten our Lips

    Of Pump­kins and Parsnips and Wal­nut-Tree Chips.”

Con­sider that Cinder­ella got to where she wanted to go us­ing a pump­kin. You can share your ma­gic by mak­ing a Pump­kin Spice Latte us­ing real pump­kin, too. You won’t need your fairy god­moth­er or Star­bucks, et al, either. If you plan to en­joy the brisk days ahead sip­ping a pump­kin latte, the fol­low­ing re­cipe is easy and provides you a sig­ni­fic­ant sav­ings. Re­place #psl and in­stead tweet #homemadepsl. It isn’t even ne­ces­sary to say “Bib­bidi-Bob­bidi-Boo.”


2 cups milk

3 Tb­sp. canned pump­kin

3/4 tsp. pump­kin pie spice

1 Tb­sp. vanilla 

½ cup hot brewed cof­fee

TOP with:

Whipped cream

Sprinkle with pump­kin pie spice

-In a 2-qt. sauce­pan, heat milk, pump­kin and sug­ar over me­di­um heat un­til tiny bubbles BE­GIN to form around edge of pan. Watch pot care­fully. Heat un­til hot but DO NOT BOIL.

-Re­move from burn­er and stir in the pump­kin pie spice, the vanilla and the hot cof­fee.

-Pour in­to 2 large mugs. Top with whipped cream, and sprinkle with ad­di­tion­al pump­kin pie spice.

If your spice rack does not in­clude PUMP­KIN PIE SPICE, you can make you own.


1 Tb­sp. ground cin­na­mon

2 tsp. ground ginger

½ tsp. ground nut­meg

1/8 tsp. cloves or all­spice (op­tion­al)

If you make Pump­kin Lattes on Thanks­giv­ing morn­ing, con­sider mak­ing the fol­low­ing pump­kin cream cheese spread. It’s de­li­cious on toast, Eng­lish muffins or ba­gels. It is also a good way to use any leftover canned pump­kin.


6 oz. light cream cheese (neufcha­tel) softened 

1½ Tb­sp. brown sug­ar

¼ cup canned pump­kin 

½ tsp. pump­kin pie spice

½ tsp. cin­na­mon

½ tsp. vanilla ex­tract

-In a small bowl, beat well the cream cheese and brown sug­ar.

-Add pump­kin, spices and vanilla and beat well.

-Re­fri­ger­ate for at least 1 hour.

Eat well, live long, en­joy!

(Ques­tions or tips can be sent to Donna Zit­ter Bor­de­lon at Whats­cook­in­NEPhilly@gmail.com or in care of the North­east Times, 2512 Met­ro­pol­it­an Drive, Tre­vose, PA 19053)

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