Move over, Pumpkin Spice. I have a confession to make. I just don't get you.
I've never had Pumpkin Spice. Really. I have never - ever - knowingly tasted Pumpkin Spice. Part of it is ... I just don't get it. There's no pumpkin in it, I found when researching recipes.
Maybe it's also because my coffee drink of choice is an Americano - black no sugar - I've never had a whipped coffee drink or dessert. I don't gravitate towards dessert easily (just give me anything savory and I'm happy). And, just the plethora of products now using this seemingly strange blend (Pumpkin Spice Candles??) have me confused.
But, when I dig deep for an answer, it's more likely because it's always seemed like a toned down version of Chai Masala - the spice blend that Indians use in our tea.
Realizing this, I got to thinking. Why settle for Pumpkin Spice when you can have it all in an amazing Chai Masala? And, Thanksgiving is around the corner. What better to scream the holidays but a Pumpkin Pie ramped up with a delicious Chai Masala complete with the floral notes of green cardamom pods?
Because I'm more of a savory kind of cook, I had to enlist the help of my friend Katherine who is a Pumpkin Pie baking expert (my words - not hers, she's way too modest). All I asked was for her to substitute one tablespoon of my Chai Masala for the spice blend required in her pumpkin pie recipe of choice. The results? Uh-mazing!
Take my recipe and make Chai Masala yourself. Or, head to the product section of my website to purchase a pre-ground jar. We are now in many select Chicago-area Whole Foods with our spice blends. If you have my books, head to page 39 in Indian For Everyone and 56 in Vegan Indian Cooking for the recipe.
While I offer products for you to purchase and make the process easier, I always like to also offer up recipes and techniques for you to make blends at home.
This recipe makes 3/4 cup - cut it half for less
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
9 sticks cinnamon
1 tablespoon whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 tablespoons whole green cardamom pods
3 black cardamom pods (optional)
2 tablespoons dried ginger powder
Combine all ingredients in a spice grinder or a powerful blender and process into a fine powder. If your grinder is small, grind it down in small batches. Store in an airtight glass or stainless steel container. You can also store this mixture whole and grind a handful at a time as needed. Black cardamom pods can be found in most Indian grocery stores, not to worry if you can't find them, just omit.
Which spice grinder? Invest in a good coffee grinder and reserve it for spices.
Substitute this blend in your favorite pumpkin pie recipe. Here's the recipe that Katherine used if you need a good one. Use this Chai Masala obviously when making Indian tea, but also sprinkled over baked nuts along with some maple syrup, in your granola, in your favorite dessert smoothie, or in your morning yogurt.
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