Pumpkin Spice Latte
Vegan and GF, this PSL will make Starbucks look shameful.
The perfect introduction to fall and Spooky Season!
The PSL season seems to be arriving earlier and earlier every year, with Starbucks's advertisements coming out in early September now, calling us towards their sugary, thick syrups. As someone who is lactose intolerant and has a sensitive tummy, as much as I love the Pumpkin Spice Latte, my stomach very much does not. So I've taken to making my own version of a PSL, focusing on healthier, real ingredients that will leave my taste buds happy and stomach even happier.
For this PSL, all you'll need is a can of pumpkin, a can of coconut milk, some brown sugar (optional), and some spices. It's easy and will leave your kitchen smelling like a freshly baked pie!
For the Syrup:
- 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- 1 can (13.5 oz) coconut milk or sweetened condensed coconut milk
- pumpkin pie spice
For the Latte:
- pumpkin spice syrup (see above)
- 4-6 oz milk of choice
- 2-3 shots of espresso
- if you do not have espresso, use coffee!
Let's Get Cooking!
First, we need to make our simply syrup with the brown sugar and water. You can substitute white sugar for the brown sugar for a less thick simple syrup. Add equal parts brown sugar and boiling water into a bowl and stir until combined. Depending on how sweet you like your syrup, you can make more or less of this simple syrup, and it's useful for many other recipes!
Once the simple syrup has been made, place a medium pot on the stove over medium heat. Add your pumpkin puree and coconut milk to the pot, stirring constantly. For a thicker pumpkin spice syrup, use sweetened condensed coconut milk. Add your spices to taste. I recommend 1-2 tsp pumpkin pie spice, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and a 1/4 tsp nutmeg, plus a pinch of salt. Stir until incorporated.
Once the mixture is slowly boiling, lower to a simmer and cover for 15 minutes. Place in a bottle or jar and allow to cool before placing in the fridge. I first put my syrup into a glass jar (see right) and then poured it into a cleaned out olive oil bottle for easy pouring once cooled.
Above: pumpkin spice syrup simmering in pot
Right: pouring pumpkin spice syrup into an empty bottle
Making the Latte
To make the Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL), you'll need a few things. I have a small espresso machine, but I know most people don't have access to one. There are a few options to making a great quasi-latte with the pumpkin spice syrup, so choose whatever you have available:
The Milk: First we need to steam our milk!
1. If you have a steam wand: put 4 ounces of milk in a metal pitcher and place the steam wand into the milk at an angle. I recommend using the spout of the pitcher to hold the steam wand at a ~130º angle, and then keeping the tip of the wand just below the surface of the milk. You should create a whirlpool of sorts in the milk itself, allowing the heat to reach all areas of the milk. Once it is hot enough, slowly pull the steam wand towards the surface of the milk to create the foam.
2. If you do not have a steam wand: put 2-4 ounces of milk and 1-2 tablespoons (or more if you want a stronger flavor) of the pumpkin spice syrup in a pot on the stove, keeping it on a low heat and allowing it to heat gradually, stirring constantly so that the milk does not burn. To create foam, either place some of the milk into a jar and shake it, or use a frother.
The Caffeinated Portion:
1. Espresso: If you have access to an espresso maker, pull 2-3 shots of espresso and mix 1-2 tablespoons (or more, depending on taste preferences) in the espresso prior to pouring the milk over it.
2. Coffee: I recommend using a french press to create a richer taste profile, but any coffee will do. If you choose to go the coffee route, use less steamed milk. Make your coffee as you please, and add the milk on top!
Pour the milk over the coffee or espresso at an angle, first pouring slow to get the milk out, then deepening your angle to increase the speed and allow the foam to come out! Sprinkle a dusting of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice on top, and you have a nice PSL ready for fall weather!