Buongiorno all’autunno! We have arrived at the season of fall cooking, leaving juicy summer tomatoes and fresh citrus fruit behind. Now the heartier gourds, vegetables and apples are becoming part of our daily diet. Whether in soups, purees or pastas, the pumpkin—or zucca—is a favorite around our house. So far, we have made a satisfying gnocchi di zucca, a flavorful pumpkin soup with bacon and have put pumpkin and pasta together.
A completely new experiment with pumpkin comes from my subtle addiction to a certain coffee shop chain, in the form of the pumpkin spice latte. As a former American college student, with my own alma mater boasting a satellite school here in Florence, I understand the craving for these coffee drinks. Try as I might to embrace the transition into fall with black espressos and herbal teas, it did not feel the same. That is, until I embraced the aroma of the syrup cooking on the stove while the wind wallops trees outside. If the long-awaited arrival of cold weather instills a longing for an evening latte, this personal store of heavenly syrup will not let you down.
100g packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Half teaspoon ground nutmeg
Half teaspoon ground ginger
Scant half teaspoon cloves
4 heaping tablespoons pumpkin puree
Combine all the ingredients in a pot. Stir together over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Continue cooking over low/medium heat for an additional 5–6 minutes (do not allow it to boil). Before using the syrup, remember to shake it because the mixture will have settled. You can keep the syrup in an airtight container for up to two weeks. To prepare: mix warmed milk, espresso and syrup to taste.