No matter if the weather is in the high 90s, the arrival of September means a cavalcade of pumpkin-spiced, -seasoned and -flavored food and drink.
The contentious Starbucks pumpkin spice latte has been out for weeks (it celebrated its earliest-ever release Aug. 27) and you can already find plenty of pumpkin flavors around town.
Defying the marketing crush, there are a handful of Dallas bakers who are holding out for the official start of fall before debuting their pumpkin-spiced specialties.
“I’m a stickler, probably more than most, about pumpkin being in the fall,” says Andrea Meyer, owner and executive pastry chef of Bisous Bisous Pâtisserie in Uptown. “I love pumpkin. It’s not like I don’t want it now, but there’s something about it, especially in Texas where we don’t really get a fall … My heart longs for that crisp chill in the air before we go down the pumpkin rabbit hole.”
Annette Baker of Nature’s Plate in Northeast Dallas shares the opinion.
“We have a strict ‘no pumpkin spice before October’ policy around here,” she says. “Somehow we just can’t get in the mood with these temperatures.”
Pumpkin has become so ubiquitous, in part, because of its versatility.
“Pumpkin obviously lends itself to a lot of different flavor combinations,” Meyer says. “And it has the ability to go sweet or savory, which is probably why it’s gotten to be so popular.”
Meyer strove to get more creative with her pumpkin offerings at Bisous Bisous this season.
“We’ve always done your basic pumpkin spice macaron, but we’ve been doing it for six years. This year, we’re doing a pumpkin chai to bring more of the spice.”
The pumpkin chai macaron has ground coriander and cardamom to brighten up the traditional pumpkin spices. Instead of a buttercream filling, they’re doing a ganache made with Valrhona chocolate.
They’re also doing a pumpkin chai eclair and a pumpkin-white chocolate croissant. For their wholesale partners such as Merit Coffee, Royal Blue Grocery and Foxtrot Market, Bisous Bisous is creating a pumpkin cheesecake “pop tart” and pumpkin streusel muffin.
You can get your hands on most of Bisous Bisous’ pumpkin specialties beginning Oct. 1.
Whether you’ve been itching for pumpkin since August, or you’re waiting for October and cooler weather to indulge, you can find an assortment of pumpkin products throughout Dallas.
Sprinkles is offering a pumpkin cupcake with ginger, clover, nutmeg and cinnamon, topped with sweet cinnamon cream cheese frosting. Joy Macarons is serving a pumpkin fluff macaron, Mimi’s Bistro and Bakery is bringing back its pumpkin spice muffin and Kessler Baking Studio is serving pecan pumpkin bread, pumpkin spiced cinnamon rolls and pumpkin swirl blondies.
A Thanksgiving classic, you can find pumpkin pie at Norma’s Cafe, and Emporium Pies is serving a spicy pumpkin pie with a gingerbread crust. Vegans and gluten-free folks can enjoy Nature’s Plate’s pumpkin pie in November.
Fearing’s Restaurant is serving a spiced pumpkin creme brûlée with cinnamon-dusted churros, white chocolate mousse, candied cranberries and cranberry gel, served with cinnamon ice cream. Rise No. 1 has a decadent pumpkin soufflé with nutmeg and crème anglaise sauce. With temperatures still nearing 100, it’s the perfect time for a frosty pumpkin treat from Henry’s Ice Cream, which is serving a pumpkin pie flavored ice cream. Kate Weiser Chocolate is offering its chocolate pumpkins again this year, which are almost too pretty to eat.
Vegan and Gluten-Free
Even if you’re plant-based or gluten-free, it’s not hard to find pumpkin treats in Dallas. Unrefined Bakery currently offers gluten-free pumpkin bread and pumpkin muffins and will release more pumpkin specialties later this month. Nature’s Plate is serving other vegan pumpkin items beginning Oct. 1, including pumpkin spice bread and pumpkin spice oatmeal.
The Biscuit Bar is incorporating the favorite flavor of fall into its biscuit French toast. The pumpkin pie French toast biscuit is dipped in sweet vanilla custard and pumpkin spice, pan fried and topped with housemade pumpkin whipped cream. Beginning Sept. 17, Cafe Brazil is serving its beloved pumpkin pancakes, and Oddfellow’s will debut its own pumpkin pancakes in October. Empire Baking Co. is offering a pumpkin-cream cheese muffin and will serve a traditional pumpkin loaf around Thanksgiving.
If pumpkin brews are your thing, Nine Band Brewing in Allen recently released its new Nautty PumkN’ Ale. Lakewood Brewing Co.’s Punkel, a pumpkin-spiced dunkel, has been a favorite for nearly a decade.
Sure, you can grab a PSL from Starbucks, but why not try something local? Mimi’s is offering its own take on this famous beverage, featuring pumpkin flavors with a double shot of espresso, steamed milk and cinnamon. White Rock Coffee makes its own pumpkin syrup in-house, with real pumpkin, spices, sugar and no preservatives. Bisous Bisous is debuting its pumpkin spice latte on the official first day of fall, Sept. 23.
You can even try pumpkin on pizza at the new 400 Gradi downtown. This Italian concept, hailing from Australia, offers its popular Supremo pizza with mozzarella, pumpkin, arugula, pine nuts and goat cheese.