Well, it’s that time of year again, when everything seems to be laced with pumpkin…and I mean everything. Like comedian Jim Gaffigan said, “We wouldn’t know when breakfast ends, if there was no McDonald’s. I’d be eating eggs at 5 p.m. like a moron.” Alas, even those long-upheld traditions are now in question, with McDonald’s serving a limited breakfast menu all day long.
In the very same way, without the barrage of pumpkin fortified foods, how would one ever know that the fall season had officially arrived? It seems our internal body clocks have come to expect it. Leaves don’t fall without it! While pumpkin spice madness can often be overwhelming, here are five of my favorites to get ease you into fall.
Shinjuku Station – Kabocha Cheesecake
This house-made dessert began as a special seasonal offering and was so well received that it comes back for an encore every year…because it is so darn good. Made from Japanese kabocha (those squatty green gourds with their pumpkin-like center), which has a milder flavor and paler color than our North American variety. Shinjuku Station’s Kabocha Cheesecake is less sweet as well (since Japanese cooking traditionally uses a light hand with sugar – although that too is changing). The crust is a fluffy graham cracker shell, and the presentation includes a drizzle of caramel sauce and roasted walnuts.
Café Brazil – Cinnamon Pumpkin Pancakes
Long beloved by both the late-night and early-morning crowd, these seasonal pancakes aim to please, no matter what time of day you enjoy them. This recipe has followed the local chain (from their first Lakewood location) and is really one to order. Three hot and tender pancakes with a mild, not overly spiced batter (with its simply cinnamon appeal), are presented with a tantalizing dusting of powdered sugar, and a melting scoop of house-made cinnamon butter melting over the top, as well as a light pour of syrup for sweetness.
Curly’s Frozen Custard – Pumpkin Custard
Or you could choose to have your pumpkin pie on a cone or in a cup. This is one of my favorite custard flavors from Curly’s. I’ve been dreaming about it all summer long. Creamy and perfectly spiced, it is truly a pure pumpkin explosion of flavor. And, since the weather is still plenty warm in Fort Worth, all the way through the end of October, this chilly treat is a welcome change from the often too-much-too-soon hot coffee drinks this time of year.
Mrs. Renfro’s – Pumpkin Salsa
Mrs. Renfro’s added another specialty salsa to their fantastic line-up this year. They introduced the new Pumpkin Salsa this summer actually, a little ahead of the pumpkin rush. They say “it’s like Thanksgiving on a chip.” The salsa is a delightful marriage of pumpkin pie spices and real pumpkin blended with all the classic salsa ingredients. Perfect for dipping, it can also be used as a marinade, or it makes a tasty base for slow cooking chicken. The jar includes a recipe for Hearty Pumpkin Salsa Soup right on the label.
Swiss Pastry Shop – Pumpkin Latte Cake
It’s like your Pumpkin Spice Latte on a plate. This scrumptious new creation is filled with real pumpkin in the batter and swirled with an espresso cream cheese icing. Unlike most beverages and snacks this time of year that are just pumpkin spice, the Pumpkin Latte Cake is the real deal. If you haven’t stopped by the old, faithful Swiss Pastry Shop lately…you are in for a treat. All your favorites, like the Black Forest Cake are still available, but they are constantly turning out something new to try, including amazing burgers and cheese steak sandwiches for lunch and dinner.