Pumpkin seed horchata

Time 15 minutes
Yields Serves 6 to 12
Pumpkin seed horchata
(Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)
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Horchata—opaque, sweet, pleasantly gritty, and creamy but made without milk—is wildy popular in Central and Southern Mexico, especially in Oaxaca and the Yucatan Peninsula. Horchata can be made from such a variety of ingredients--rice, almonds, tigernuts, barley, seeds—that it can be thought of as a technique, rather than a singular product. It is made by soaking, grinding, pulverizing, and finally straining a base ingredient such as rice, tigernuts, almonds or seeds. The resulting liquid is a suspension—tiny, tiny little pieces or globules of starch, protein, and fat floating around in water. The particles are way too small to see with the naked eye, but they are big enough to appear white and opaque instead of clear, giving the liquid its creamy appearance. This horchata is made from pumpkin seeds and laced with cinnamon and allspice.

From the story: Your glass of horchata can be a lot more mysterious than you think


In a non-reactive pot or container, combine the pumpkin seeds, water, allspice and cinnamon. Cover and steep the mixture for 2 hours on the countertop, or refrigerate overnight. (If you’re pressed for time, soak the ingredients using hot water and store at room temperature for 90 minutes; this will yield a slightly less-creamy horchata.)


Pour the mixture into a blender (this may need to be done in batches), along with the sugar and salt and blend at high speed until the seeds are completely broken down and the mixture is light and creamy, 3 to 4 minutes.


Strain the mixture using a fine mesh strainer, pushing out all of the liquid and discarding the solids. Add additional water to thin if desired. This makes about 1 ½ quarts horchata, depending on your desired thickness. The horchata will keep, covered and refrigerated, up to 2 to 3 days. Serve over ice.