Calabaza en Tacha or candied pumpkin is a popular dessert during the holidays for many Latino families. The sweet aroma from the pumpkin, brown sugar and cinnamon while baking in the oven permeates the entire home of its goodness. It’s a great way to use up the pumpkin you had from Halloween and enjoy the harvest.
The following recipe and photos were provided to us by our friend Armando Gonzalez, who recently made this dish for his family. We saw his photographs on Facebook and immediately asked if we could share with our readers. Luckily, Armando said yes! Armando tells us, “This treat when served at Holiday gatherings is usually gone the same day, any leftovers are best enjoyed within a day or so.”
Calabaza en Tacha
- 1 medium pumpkin, cleaned and cut into 3×3” squares (Don’t forget to save the seeds for Pepitas, or toasted pumpkin seeds)
- 10-12 Piloncillo cones (you can find these in most grocery stores or in Latino markets)
- 3 Cinnamon sticks
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- Poke holes with a fork into the meat of the pumpkin (all sides except skin side).
- Place pumpkin with the flesh side facing up in a large baking dish. A large aluminum rectangle foil tray works well.
- Add the Piloncillo brown sugar cones on top, cinnamon sticks, and add 3 cups of water and cover with foil.
- Turn over every 45 min. for about 2 1/2 hours.
- Continue cooking the pumpkin until it has turned into a rich brown color and has become well soaked in syrup, for about another half hour, pieces facing down.
- Turn off the heat and let the pumpkin cool and finish absorbing all the syrup it can as the rest of the syrup thickens.
- Best enjoyed warm and within a day or 2 of baking. Or let it cool and refrigerate. It will keep in the refrigerator, covered, for a week or so.
- Note* Piloncillo will melt into water and slowly reduce into a syrup. Replace foil after every turnover.