I was poking about in the kitchen the other day, using a recipe for peanut butter bread as a rough guideline for ratios to produce a butternut squash bread. (It turned out yummy, with the moist texture like a dense banana bread.) While working on it, I decided that some vanilla and "pie spice" blend was just what it needed to turn out great.
Well, I forgot to add the vanilla, but the pie spice blend I invented made the bread good enough that I almost didn't care about the missing vanilla.
Get the spice blend for yourself here—as well as some tips on how to adjust it for your own personal blend.
Misti’s Pie Spice
First know what must and what must not be in the spice. (For example, if you're going to be serving it to someone who’s allergic to nutmeg, don’t add the nutmeg.)
Next, get everything together (but if something's on your "must not" list, omit it).
What You Need:
This makes a bit over 1/8 c. of spice.
- an airtight jar, container, or baggie (to put the resultant spice in)
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon (as in cassia; you can use true/ceylon cinnamon if you want)
- 1/2 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/8 teaspoon ground pepper (green if you like spice strong; black for moderate; white for subtle)
What You Do:
Grind anything that isn't already ground, then measure everything into the airtight jar/container/baggie. Shake it. Use in place of "pumpkin pie spice" or "pie spice" in recipes.
Seriously, the hardest part is getting all those ingredients—but you can get good quality spices at nice prices at various bulk herb stores online. My preferred first stop is Mountain Rose Herbs*, for variety, price, quality, and customer service. You can find links to various herb stores I recommend on my "Recommendations" page.
I love nutmeg and cloves and ginger—flavors that nip at your tongue. If you prefer your spice to be milder, more subtle, you can swap the quantities of cardamom and ginger plus reduce the amount of cloves. (I recommend not going below 1/4 teaspoon.) If you like flavors even nippier than I do, try replacing the cardamom with ground grains of paradise.
As an added benefit, my blend is essentially glucose-lowering, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-allergy, anti-depressant painkiller! (Almost in that order, too.) It's like all the benefits of chai, except you can stick it and a dollop of sweetened winter squash and milk into your coffee for a pumpkin spice latte.
(Instructions for how to easily cook winter squash—and ways to make that pie latte—will be forthcoming. Assuming y'all want those instructions?)
But wait—what if you have no idea what some of those ingredients even are? What if you just want to mix up something that'll work from what's in your cabinet?
Then you make the Bare Bones Version!
Bare Bones Version of Pie Spice:
This makes about 1 tablespoon of spice blend.
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves, nutmeg, or mace
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice (or one you didn't use already from the previous list)
- dash ground pepper (whatever you have)
Keep the pepper because it will help the flavor pop and (per some home remedy folks) will boost the efficacy of whichever spices you use.
You can adjust things based on what you have in the cabinet and what you can and can't eat, of course, but now you have a starting point for coming up with your own personal blend! (Or you can just copy mine. That's fine, too.)
What are your preferred spices for the holiday season?
*All links marked with an asterisk are affiliate links. I only become an affiliate for vendors or products that I recommend from personal experience. What happens is I find myself recommending to people, then realize there's an affiliate program, so I figure I might as well join up.
Do you have a story of unexpected herb effect? An opinion on my experiences or recipe? A question on herbs as medicine? Something you want to hear about making? Ask! I'm not the only person I know who does this kitchen remedy stuff, so if I don't know or make that item, someone else I knows probably does.