The rise of pumpkin as a seasonal flavor has been an epic tale, with sales ever-climbing (11.6 percent for the year ending July 25, according to Nielsen). Steamrolled by Starbucks' famed pumpkin spice latte, the flavor of the gourd has become a major preoccupation from August through Christmas.
Here are three new pumpkin-themed dishes we found debuting in Dallas:
Pumpkin tamales at La Popular Tamale House
La Popular is brilliant at seasonal offerings, whether it's Hatch chile and black bean tamales during Hatch chile season or black-eyed pea tamales leading up to New Year's Day.
Its pumpkin tamales, available through November, are a slightly sweet (and vegan) treat. They use pumpkins from the Dallas Farmers Market, which they bake and mash, then flavor with nutmeg, vanilla, and a dash of cayenne for a little heat. The masa is flavored with cloves and piloncillo (Mexican brown sugar). They're available through October 24, but you have to place your order ahead of time, $12.95 a dozen.
If you miss them, don't worry: La Popular follows up with its next seasonal flavor, which is sweet potato and raisins.
Pumpkin cheesecake jar at Val's Cheesecake
After selling desserts online and through Artizone, Val's Cheesecakes opened its first brick-and-mortar shop at 3906 Maple Ave. in Dallas, in the bright blue building next to the Grapevine Bar. Owner Val Jean-Bart and his business partner, Christopher Reece, make sweet and savory cheesecakes, including the notorious savory "brisket" cheesecake. They sell cheesecake by the slice, whole, and in mason jars, plus brownies, cookies, and caramels from Dallas Caramel Co.
From now through Christmas, they're doing pumpkin cheesecake in a jar. It's a creamy pumpkin cheesecake, poured over a graham-cracker crust, then topped with a buttery crumb mixture.
Raw pumpkin seed butter by Frankie V's Kitchens
Dallas-based Frankie V's has added raw pumpkin seed butter to its catalog of nut and seed spreads. It comes in a 9-ounce jar for $7 and in three versions: unsweetened, sweetened with brown sugar, or sweetened with Stevia extract.
Pumpkin seed butter offers an alternative for those who have peanut allergies, making a good substitute a la "pumpkin butter and jelly sandwiches." It's also good on toast and bagels. It's available online and at some markets including Green Grocer and Central Market.