Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Pumpkin in Syrup
Each year when we visit our local "pumpkin patch" I'm always amazed at all the different varieties. White pumpkins, black pumpkins, striped pumpkins, pumpkins with warts, and lots of colorful little gourds. It's a good way to kick off Fall and remind myself that the season is really here, despite feeling like it was just July a few weeks ago.
Hank and I loaded up on a few varieties, some for carving, some for baking, and a few festive gourds for our table. I quickly snatched up a couple of the Pie Pumpkins with this dish in mind. Pumpkin in Syrup, or Calabaza en Tacha, is commonly prepared for Dia de Los Muertos. It is traditionally made with piloncillo, a raw unrefined sugar, but works just as well with dark brown sugar.
Pumpkin in Syrup (Calabaza en Tacha)
adapted from a vintage cookbook, Historic New Mexican Cookery
1 4-5 lb pie pumpkin
2 lbs. piloncillo (or dark brown sugar)
6 cinnamon sticks
juice from 1 orange
3 1/2 c water
Cut the top off the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds and stringy flesh. Cut into cubes and remove the outer skin.
Combine the remaining ingredients in a large stock pot. Bring to a boil, making sure the sugar is dissolved completely. Reduce heat and carefully place the pumpkin in the syrup. Cover the pot with a lid and simmer for 20-30 minutes. The pumpkin is ready when it appears glazed and golden brown. Turn off the heat and allow to cool before removing. Serve with cold milk and additional syrup if desired.
This dish doesn't photograph well, but it's quite tasty. Pumpkin in syrup makes a delicious breakfast or simple dessert served with fresh whipped cream.