I wish I had the confidence to knock on a stranger’s door and inquire about their apple tree by the side of the road. The one that I pass nearly every day; it is bursting with fruit that nobody seems to be picking. Each day I watch more and more of the harvest accumulate on the ground, quickly decaying as it remains untouched. If I did have that kind of confidence, there would be no less than eight doors I could knock on within two miles from home. Maybe they aren’t able to pick their own, I could help in exchange for a basketful! Maybe they aren’t interested in the apples, might I suggest a little “help yourself to apples” sign for passersby? I’d bring back a few quarts of applesauce as a thank you... or a fresh batch of hand pies!
People everywhere in the northeast are saying it, perhaps throughout the country as well? 2015 has been a BANNER year for apples! Even the old timers who’ve been around for nearly a century are claiming to have never seen such a thing. Trees are dripping with huge, gorgeous fruit. Weighed down, actually. I know, it’s not really my business what someone does with their apple tree, but if I see untouched apple trees on the side of the road this far into the season (or in front of the firehouse, cafe, etc.), I can’t help but wonder if we, as a community, could help each other to make use of the fruit. We are hard pressed in these parts to find u-pick orchards that do not spray their trees. My guess is that many of the roadside trees I’m spying are not sprayed, that they are left to do their thing, all wild and free. Let’s put them to use!
I’m rambling about apples, they are on my mind these days. As are pumpkins.
What about pumpkins exactly? Well, it’s that special time of year again... Pumpkin Spiced Latte Season comes around but once a year and is a time of celebration for coffee drinkers everywhere. It starts on the first day of autumn and lingers with great jubilee until Thanksgiving. (And then we enter Peppermint Mocha Season which is a distinctly separate time of year all together.) In my mind, autumn is the most perfect season and so of course it should have a drink in its honor! To celebrate, I came up with a DIY version of a pumpkin latte that can be made right here at home, is inexpensive, and contains ingredients that work for me. I like to think of it as a pumpkin latte for the rest of us. Would you care to whip one up for yourself?
Pumpkin Spiced Latte
2 cups milk of your choice
4 tbsp pumpkin puree
2-3 tbsp maple syrup
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 cup strong hot coffee
freshly whipped cream for topping (optional)
Add milk, pumpkin, maple syrup, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice to a small sauce pan over medium heat. Bring almost to a boil, stirring constantly. Whisk the mixture until it begins to get frothy, about 1 minute or so. Divide milk mixture between two mugs. Add the hot coffee slowly, pour it down the side to protect the the milk froth. Add a dollop of freshly whipped cream and a pinch more pumpkin pie spice. Enjoy.
- Because this latte is the real deal, containing actual pumpkin, you're going to want to keep a spoon on hand if you're not a fast drinker. The pumpkin will settle on the bottom of the mug if left to sit for too long. (I just give my mug a swirl now and then.)
- For a thicker froth, reserve a portion of the milk and heat it with a milk frother. I love to do that.
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Enjoy your latte! Be bolder than I am and ask your neighbors if they need help picking apples, then go ahead and make a big batch of apple hand pies to share (though I think a simple cup of black coffee goes best with those).
Cheers to autumn!