Candied Pumpkin (Calabaza En Tacha), photo by Sonia Mendez GarciaPhoto by Sonia Mendez Garcia

Candied Pumpkin (Calabaza En Tacha)

Cuisine: Mexican
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 8 people
Fresh pumpkin, cooked low and slow in a piloncillo syrup. Simplicity at it's best!

Preparing candied pumpkin (calabaza en tacha), warm in a piloncillo (brown sugar) syrup takes me back to my abuela's kitchen. Back then, this recipe would be prepared in a large pressure cooker in no time! The tender pieces of pumpkin were served in a shallow bowl with warm piloncillo syrup ladled over the top, with just enough half and half or heavy cream to drizzle over the top.

To me, calabaza en tacha is a simple, rustic recipe that is right up there with the most gourmet and fancy dishes served at high-class restaurants. And the great thing about it is, it's so inexpensive to prepare! test

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds pumpkin fresh, sliced into 3x3 pieces
  • 1 pound piloncillo or 1 cup packed regular dark brown sugar
  • 6-7 cups water
  • 2 sticks cinnamon about 3 inches each
  • orange peel from 1 orange

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Directions

  1. In a large stock pot, add the water, piloncillo, cinnamon, zest and juice. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook just until sugar dissolves.
  2. Leaving the seeds in the pumpkin is optional. Add all of the pumpkin into the stock pot. Add just enough water to cover the pumpkin. Cover and continue cooking at a simmer for a good hour or until pumpkin is soft. Stir gently when you can, and try not to break up the pumpkin pieces.
  3. To serve, place one or two pieces in a shallow bowl. Ladle some of the syrup over the top and add cream or milk before serving. Yields 6 servings.

Chef Notes

After your candied pumpkin has cooled, remove the rind and transfer to a deep skillet. Add some of the syrup and a little pumpkin pie spice seasoning. Cook on low until all of the liquid evaporates and pumpkin becomes very thick. Taste for brown sugar. This filling, once cooled, can be used to prepare pumpkin empanadas!

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