With Halloween here and Thanksgiving around the corner, if you haven’t already had pumpkin rammed down your throat, you soon will. Pumpkin pie, pumpkin soup, pumpkin beer, etc. In an attempt to be a little different, I’ve decided to experiment with a Pumpkin Horchata recipe. Horchatas are unfamiliar to many Americans, but are quite common in Spain (where it originated) and in many Latin American countries.
The original Horchatas in Spain were beverages made from the milk of chufa nuts or almonds, and were meant to help wash down highly seasoned dishes. The kind I’m making today is more of the style of Mexico and the rest of Latin America with addition of rice. Here in Atlanta, Horchatas can be found in one of the many Mexican/Latin restaurants and markets that line Buford Highway. My first Horchata experience came from my favorite taco joint in the city, El Rey del Taco. Check them out here.
Let’s now look at the ingredients:
2 cups of white long grain rice I pre-soaked the rice the night before. Drained it, then reserve 2 cups of the rice water.
1-15oz can of pumpkin puree Good quality canned puree works fine. If you’re feeling ambitious, you could go at it with a whole pumpkin. Just make sure and have approx 2 cups of puree.
2 cups of almond milk
1/2 cup of kahlua This is where the “adult” part of the Horchata comes in. Kahlua is a coffee flavored rum liqueur. Kahlua works great in this recipe and it works great in a lot of desserts. The best cheesecake I have ever had was a Kahlua cheesecake. In the Horchata, it compliments the pumpkin and spice mixture very well.
2 tbsp honey
1/4 cup spice blend The spice blend I’m working with here consist of 1/4 cup of whole pumpkin seeds, 1 whole cinnamon stick, 3 whole cloves, 3 tsp of ginger powder and 1 tsp of nutmeg. I toast the pumpkin seeds, whole cinnamon, and whole cloves in a dry skillet then run them through a spice grinder. Toasting whole spices is an old Chinese method of bringing the aromatic compounds to the forefront. An extra step, but one worthwhile in my opinion. After grinding the whole spices, add to the ginger and nutmeg powder. Reserve a little spice mixture for coating the rims of the glasses.
Place the rice with the reserved water in a blender or food processor. Process until thick and smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients, with the exception of the Kahlua, and process again until smooth. Let mixture hang out for a few hours, or overnight to let the flavors blend together. Pass through a strainer and then fold in the Kahlua with a pinch or two of salt.
Take your pic on how you want to serve this. First coat the rim of the glass with the spice mixture, then I like pour some of the Horchata in a martini shaker with ice, shake vigorously, and then pour into the glass. I like this drink very cold, and I love the little bits of ice floating around in the drink. You could also serve with ice cubes or just chilled.
Pumpkin Kahlua Horchata
2 cups of uncooked white long grain rice
1-15oz can of pumpkin puree
2 cups of vanilla almond milk
1/2 cup Kahlua
1 cinnamon stick
3 whole cloves
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
3 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground nutmeg
2 pinches of kosher salt
Soak the rice overnight. Drain and reserve 2 cups of the rice water, set aside. In a hot dry skillet, toast the cinnamon, whole cloves, and pumpkin seeds until dark and aromatic. Run the toasted spices through a spice grinder, and then combine with the ginger and nutmeg, set aside. Place the rice with the reserved water in a blender and process until thick and smooth. Add all the rest of the ingredients, with the exception of the Kahlua and salt, and process to combine. Set aside for a few hours or overnight. Pass through a strainer, then add the Kahlua and salt. Coat the rim of a glass with some leftover spice mixture. Add horchata to a martini shaker with some ice, shake vigorously, then pour into glass. Serve!