Calabaza en tacha is traditionally served during the Mexican Day of the Dead celebrations but it’s never a bad idea anytime fresh pumpkins are available. Lightly spiced and intensely sweet, it can be enjoyed on its own as a light snack, as a breakfast item with milk, or as a dessert with plain vanilla ice cream.
In this version of calabaza en tacha from Michoacán, guavas and cinnamon give the dark brown glaze an unusual earthy character. The guava seeds also adds interest by embedding itself into the crevices of your teeth, a reminder that the rich sweetness of candied pumpkin is best savored slowly.
Calabaza en Tacha
Candied Pumpkin and Guava in Raw Sugar
Pumpkin and guavas
1 medium pumpkin, about 5 pounds
8 cups water
1 1/2 pounds piloncillo/panela or dark brown sugar, about 4 cups
2 cinnamon sticks, about 3 to 4 inches each
10 guavas (optional)
- The original recipe calls for simmering the seeds, pulp, and flesh in the syrup. I usually reserve the seeds for other things.
- Keep the rind on to prevent the pumpkin slices from disintegrating during the long simmer.
- Stab the pumpkin in several places to allow the syrup to penetrate the flesh.
- Cleave the pumpkin and guavas in half lengthwise.
- Disembowel the pumpkin.
- Hack the pumpkin into 3-inch chunks or crescent-shaped slivers.
- In a wide and heavy cauldron, add the pumpkin pieces, guavas, raw sugar, and cinnamon sticks. Add enough water to drown the pumpkin pieces and guavas, about 8 cups. Bring to a boil.
A wide and heavy cauldron, also known as a dutch oven
- Cover the pot and cook the pumpkin and guavas over medium-high heat for about 15 minutes.
- Remove the lid and simmer until the liquid is reduced to a thick syrup and the pumpkin and guavas are glazed, about 1 to 2 hours.
Serve warm or chilled with milk or ice cream. Drizzle with some of the reserved syrup.