Homemade Horchata with Pumpkin Seeds, Maple & Ginger
This silky smooth homemade horchata recipe gets a pumpkin pie vibe from pumpkin seeds, maple, cinnamon, and fresh ginger along with the usual almonds and rice. Add a shot of rum or brandy for a festive beverage that tastes like healthy eggnog.
Prep Time: 20minutes
Resting time: 8hours
6tablespoonsraw white rice (preferably Jasmine or Basmati)(2.75 ounces / 75 grams)
1fat 3" long cinnamon stick
1/2cupblanched almonds(3 ounces / 85 grams)
1/2cuppumpkin seeds (raw or lightly toasted)(2.5 ounces / 70 grams)
2 1/2cupsboiling water(20 ounces / 590 ml)
5-6tablespoonsmaple syrup (I like grade A light amber here)
2tablespoonscoarsely chopped fresh ginger
2 1/2cups cool water(20 ounces / 590 ml)
Calvados, brandy, or gold or dark rum (optional)
Place the rice and cinnamon stick in a clean coffee or spice grinder and grind finely. Place in a large mason jar or heatproof bowl and add the almonds, pumpkin seeds, and boiling water. Give it a stir, cover, and let sit at room temperature for 8 hours or overnight.
Pour the mixture into a blender and add the 5 tablespoons maple syrup and the chopped ginger. Blend until smooth, starting on low and gradually increasing the speed to high, adding the cool water slowly. (Note: if you have a high speed blender, be careful not to puree this to oblivion; you want to be able to filter out the solids.) Strain the mixture either through a nut milk bag or through a fine mesh strainer, pressing on the solids to extract all the good stuff. A small one may work best. Taste, adding the remaining tablespoon of maple syrup if you like it sweeter.
Chill the horchata until cold. It will keep, refrigerated airtight, for up to a few days. The mixture will separate as it sits; give it a good shake to bring it back together.
Serve the horchata over ice. Spike with a shot of Calvados, brandy, or rum if you like.
If you don't have blanched almonds on hand, do be sure to take the time to blanch your own as the almond peels will turn the horchata brown and muddy the flavor. It only takes a few minutes to blanch this small quantity: bring a small saucepan of water to a boil, add the almonds and simmer until the skins are loose, 1-2 minutes. Drain, rinse with cool water, and slip the almonds from their skins.Variations:For a nut-free version, use all pumpkin seeds in place of the almonds. For a more classic horchata, use all almonds in place of the pumpkin seeds and omit the ginger.Nutritional values are based on one of six cups.