Pumpkin Pie Flavor

pumpkin pie (Taste of Home)How did pumpkin spice flavor infiltrate our food supply? Flavor scientists were the instigators. We come up with a good flavor and want everyone to use it in every food imaginable. Most flavor scientists are confident (if not egotistical) and believe that everyone will love their creation and will want to flavor their food products with it.

Some favorite pumpkin pie flavored foods are: egg nog, waffles, tea, lattes, chocolate, muffins, cakes and ice cream. Typically, pumpkin spice flavor blends well in fatty sweet foods that we typically enjoy in Fall & Winter.

A good pumpkin spice flavor might have the following ingredients:

Concentrated Vanilla Extract 10 fold

Cinnamon Oleoresin

Ginger Oleoresin

Clove Oleoresin

Nutmeg essential oil

These flavor ingredients taste best in heavy, sweet, creamy foods. Most of us don’t have flavor ingredients in our homes (they are way too powerful). However, most of us have vanilla extract (1 fold) in our spice cabinet. Taste vanilla extract in water (1/2 tsp. in an 8 oz water) and then try it in with sweetened milk (1/2 tsp. in 4 oz milk+4 oz water with 1/2 tbsp. sugar). Big difference! Vanilla extract can be smokey, woody and harsh in water, while tasting sweet, custardy and enhancing in sweetened milk.

Fat and sweetness affect our perception of flavor. Fat can coat the tongue and lighten the effect of an otherwise harsh flavor. Fat also affects our perceived temperature of the food, which affects flavor. Try a non-fat milk and whole milk both stored in the same refrigerator for the same time.  Which milk is “colder”. Fat is responsible for causing whole milk to perceived as warm.

Sweetness and sweeteners have a huge impact on flavor perceptions. Try vanilla extract in water without sugar and then add sugar. Sugar makes flavor come alive(it’s a flavor enhancer). A latte uses sugar and fat to build flavor. How does a non-fat, sugar free latte compare to a regular latte?

So where did flavor scientists forget to add pumpkin flavor? Is there a pumpkin caramel our there? How about pumpkin butter popcorn? What’s missing?

Where did flavor scientists go wrong with pumpkin flavor. Is the pumpkin flavored beer any good?

 

 

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  1. you can home-brew a decent amber ale with pumpkin paste substituting for a portion of the malt – it adds starches to the body and some bronze color but not much in terms of the flavor (so you probably want to add some pumpkin traditional spices too). It is a decent seasonal flavor but it is a tad too overbearing to drink it frequently. It is best enjoyed on a cold rainy night, by the fireplace. Also, in pumpkin beer you may want to go easy on nutmeg and vanilla; somehow they clash with the rest. (You can have a bit more ginger and star anise if desired, but as is the rule with spiced beers, less is better: tasting a little “something extra” that you can’t quite put your finger on is better than having syrupy beer that on very first sip tastes like pumpkin-eggnog creamer)