PUMPED FOR PUMPKIN
Indulge in Drinks and Delectables Based on This Favorite Fruit
By Robin Barr Sussman
It’s that time of year, and we’re pumped for everything pumpkin. From inventive drinks to sweet treats, there’s a cornucopia of pumpkin-inspired creations to sample in Houston. When you are ready to make your own, try the pumpkin cheesecake recipe we’ve included. It’s sure to please your family this Thanksgiving and is easy as pie!
Love or hate them, pumpkin-spiced lattes are back for the season. Of course, you can score them at Starbucks (www.starbucks.com ), but why not go local and get your “PSL” fix at Common Bond Café & Bakery (1706 Westheimer Road, 713-529-3535, www.commonbondcafe.com )? This version is creamy, rich with autumn spices and not as sweet as the “chain gang’s.”
For a pumpkin drink stiffer than coffee, sip the seasonal Pumpkinator craft beer at local Saint Arnold Brewery Co. (2000 Lyons Ave., 713-686-9494, www.saintarnold.com ). Imperial Pumpkin Stout is big and bold and is brewed with black malts, Cascade and Liberty hops, pumpkin, molasses and spices. It tastes like your mom’s kitchen smells after she bakes pumpkin pie — and some say it makes the relatives more enjoyable to be around. Buy it at retailers (22-ounce bottles) all over town until they run out.
Kiran’s Houston (2925 Richmond Ave., 713-960-8472, www.kiranshouston ) is shaking up its annual pumpkin martini this fall. It might sound gimmicky and sweet (especially for an upscale Indian spot), but the silky-smooth concoction is a winner. This golden beauty is made with pumpkin butter, a kiss of warm autumn spices and splashes of apple and orange juices and Stoli vanilla vodka. Oh, and for good measure…freshly grated nutmeg on top.
Petite Sweets (2700 W. Alabama St., 713-520-7007, www.petitesweetshouston.com ) has rolled out its annual pumpkin cheesecake — and it’s downright wicked. Also stop in for pumpkin-spiced latte macarons or whole pumpkin pies for the holidays.
Urban Eats (3414 Washington Ave., 832-834-4417, www.feasturbaneats.com ) market and cafe in the Heights sells freshly baked pumpkin bread, gingersnap and pumpkin mini-cheesecakes, butterscotch pumpkin cookies and moist buttermilk pumpkin bars. Enjoy with a cup of caramel pumpkin latte.
Sprinkles Cupcakes (4014 Westheimer Road, 713-871-9929, www.sprinkles.com ) is baking pumpkin-spiced cupcakes slathered with cinnamon cream cheese frosting. The boutique cupcake shop also scoops creamy pumpkin-spiced ice cream blended with chunks of pumpkin cake and cinnamon-crunch swirl served in a large waffle cone — oh my, better than pie!
Common Bond, the world-class bakery and cafe in Montrose, is serving seasonal pumpkin treats, including pumpkin bread, pumpkin macarons, muffins and whole pumpkin pie.
PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE WITH GINGERSNAP CRUST
Houston-based Petite Sweets makes this decadent cheesecake for the holidays, but it’s easy to make at home. You can use any cookie for the crust (like graham or chocolate) and serve it with a dollop of whipped cream, instead of a fancy cream cheese frosting, if you prefer.
12 ounces gingersnaps
½ cup pecans, finely chopped
6 tablespoons salted butter, melted
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
Dash of kosher salt
In a food processor, grind the gingersnaps until fine. Pour into a bowl and stir in the pecans, melted butter, brown sugar and salt. Press into the bottom and sides of a 10-inch spring-form pan and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the cookie crust for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and slightly cool before filling.
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons pumpkin spice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
Combine ingredients in an electric mixer with the paddle attachment and whip until there are no lumps. Pour into the pre-baked crust and bake for 1 hour on a rimmed baking sheet. Remove from the oven and cool for 15 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours before slicing.
Yield: 8-10 servings