There must be a hundred posts on the web on the topic of Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Latte. Amazing! Would you believe I have NEVER had a Pumpkin Spice Latte? I’m not quite sure how that happened. However, in perusing all of the copycat recipes, it appears that there is little if any actual pumpkin in this wildly popular autumnal concoction; just a teaspoon or so of Pumpkin Spice Syrup. Hmmm…
By the time I had read a dozen or so recipes for this drink, it was starting to sound less than wonderful. I won’t know for sure until I get on over to Starbucks and actually order one, but in the meanwhile I started thinking about how wonderful pumpkin and white chocolate are together. This rich, indulgent drink is the result.
The difficulty in working with white chocolate, however, is that it is essentially all sweetness with no acidic counterbalance. Thus, it can be exceedingly rich with nothing to relieve that richness. Partnerships with bitter or acidic elements, such as alcohol or espresso, can make all the difference. So, although I present you with the foundation recipe to begin with (and it is delicious), I prefer the variations. I will be sipping one of them on Halloween night, nestled by the fire, awaiting the onslaught of trick-or-treaters.
Pumpkin Spice Hot White Chocolate
This Hot White Chocolate is in the style of European drinking chocolate, which is made with whole milk (and sometimes part cream) and melted high-quality bar chocolate. The amount of white chocolate is variable. Use the lesser amount if you do not plan to add rum or espresso to your drink. Otherwise, you may find the drink a tad too sweet.
This drink is a perfect after dinner or late night finale.
3 cups whole milk
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
2 cinnamon sticks, broken
12 whole cloves, crushed slightly
12 whole allspice berries, crushed slightly
2 tablespoons chopped candied ginger
2 tablespoons chopped orange peel (all pith removed)
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
4-6 ounces, high quality white chocolate, roughly chopped (Lindt or Guittard recommended)
pinch sea salt (don’t even think about leaving this out)
1 cup heavy cream, whipped and lightly sweetened
shaved white chocolate, from a bar of white chocolate
ground cinnamon in a shaker
- In a saucepan, over medium-low heat, bring the milk to a bare simmer.
- Lower the heat to keep the milk below the boiling point and add the pumpkin, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, candied ginger and vanilla bean.
- Remove from the heat and let mellow as long as you can wait (refrigerate if you need to hold longer than an hour).
- When ready to serve, pour the milk mixture through a triple mesh strainer into a clean saucepan. Heat to just below a simmer and remove from the heat.
- Add the white chocolate and stir until the chocolate is melted.
- Remove from the heat, and add sea salt.
- To serve immediately, pour into five, eight-ounce capacity, Irish coffee or other stemmed glasses.
- To store, let cool, decant, cover, and refrigerate. Reheat to serve.
- Just before serving, top each glass of hot chocolate with a generous mound of whipped cream, a few shavings of white chocolate, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Serve immediately.
Makes five, 6-ounce servings.
Jumpin’ Pumpkin Spice Hot White Chocolate
To each serving, add 1 shot espresso, stir, and top with whipped cream.
Spirited Pumpkin Spice Hot White Chocolate
To each serving, add 1 ounce Meyer’s dark rum, stir, and top with whipped cream.