October 22, 2020

Taste of the Caribbean: Crucian Contessa’s West Indian-Style pumpkin spice latte


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cont3By Tanisha, From Uncommon Caribbean

Editor’s note: With Thanksgiving now right around the corner, The Crucian Contessa is back with a tasty recipe for a West Indian-style Pumpkin Spice Latte that’s sure to warm our hearts on the cool fall and winter days ahead.

I have come to believe that the reason why everyone raves about Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Latte is not just because it tastes good (although I must confess I have never tried it), but because it is one of the few times of the year that commercial food producers give our spice-starved palettes something other than salt and sugar as flavor.

Mace, cloves, cinnamon, vanilla, and almond all make an appearance in my version of this seasonal treat. Instead of using the typical pumpkin, I drew flavor from the West Indian Pumpkin that grows easily here on St. Croix, while also adding some other distinctively island tastes like coconut and hot ginger to spice things up even more!

Try this treat on a cool Fall morning, and then listen for the sound of surf and sand in the background of this tropical feast of flavors!


3/4 cups coconut milk

3/4 cups almond milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons fresh pumpkin puree

1 sprig of fresh mace, or pinch of ground mace

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

Pinch of ground clove

Tiny pinch of saltcont2

2 shots of espresso or 1/2 cup strong brewed coffee

Sweetener of your choice (sugar, honey, etc.)

Whipped cream or milk foam and extra cinnamon for garnishing

The first time I ever saw the typical pumpkin-colored pumpkin was when I was in college. Most of the pumpkins grown on the island are the West Indian variety, or as my friend and favorite anthropologist Alfredo shared, they are called “Seminole Pumpkins.”

He said they are native to South America, but meandered their way to Florida and to the West Indies. Their exterior is green or sometimes a buttery yellow with green and white speckles. The inside, however, is a beautiful fire-yellow/orange.

I find the flavor of the West Indian Pumpkin to be far more intense than the typical pumpkin. If you get a chance to try it, use it. It works beautifully in pies or even in your morning coffee!


In a small sauce pan add coconut and almond milks, fresh pumpkin puree (Grudgingly: you can use the canned pumpkin if you have to.), cinnamon, ginger, clove, and salt. Simmer this mixture on medium-low heat for about 10 to 15 minutes. Add the vanilla and almond extracts. Remove from the heat and pour through a fine sieve. Add the coffee/espresso and sweeteners to your taste. A dollop of whipped cream or steamed milk foam and extra cinnamon for dusting. Depending on the size of your morning mug this can yield about two servings. Share one with a friend or savor it all by yourself.

This is a great anytime treat that you don’t have to wait until the Fall to enjoy. Never miss a chance to add flavor to your food. Spice it up a bit in the kitchen (and all the areas of your life)!

This drink is full of good for you ingredients made fresh!

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