Calabaza en Tacha – Candied Pumpkin and Guava

Calabaza en Tacha - Candied Pumpkin and Guava

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.

recipe adapted from Diana Kennedy’s Essential Cuisines of Mexico
In the Bag: Pumpkins hosted by Julia

Calabaza en Tacha
Candied Pumpkin and Guava in Raw Sugar

Calabaza en Tacha - Candied Pumpkin - Guava
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.


  1. Stab the pumpkin in several places to allow the syrup to penetrate the flesh.
  2. Cleave the pumpkin and guavas in half lengthwise.
  3. Disembowel the pumpkin.
  4. Hack the pumpkin into 3-inch chunks or crescent-shaped slivers.
  5. 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.Calabaza en Tacha - Candied Pumpkin - Dutch Oven
    A wide and heavy cauldron, also known as a dutch oven

  6. Cover the pot and cook the pumpkin and guavas over medium-high heat for about 15 minutes.
  7. 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.

To Serve:

Serve warm or chilled with milk or ice cream. Drizzle with some of the reserved syrup.

Calabaza en Tacha - Candied Pumpkin - Milk

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25 Responses to “Calabaza en Tacha – Candied Pumpkin and Guava”

  1. Peter says:

    These look awesome…I’d eat them off the peel like a watermelon!

  2. natalia says:

    Hmmm I would like to have a morsel…

  3. Rosa says:

    A unique recipe! Both the calabaza and the guava must taste delightful!



  4. maybelles mom says:

    yum, you are doing great stuff with squash over there.

  5. arundati says:

    i have to say this is indeed an intriguing combination!! plus i have been blown away with all the bread recipes over the past few weeks….fabulous!!

  6. Caitlin says:

    Those look like they would be wonderful still warm, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream – yum!

  7. snookydoodle says:

    you always introduce me to some strange fruit or recipe. which is really interesting . I ve never heard of guava before and neither candied pumpkin. Interesting recipe. which to try tasting these :)

  8. Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) says:

    I’ve never cooked guava, but this does look so delicious. I’m going to have to give it a try.

  9. cindy says:

    this looks wonderful…i don’t think i have actually seen fresh guava before, tropical fruits are not plentiful in this desert i guess.

  10. Lori says:

    This is like Diane Kennedy’s recipe. I made it last year with slaked lime. It’s also known as pickling lime. I need to make it again. It is so good.

  11. Caroline says:

    Great combination of pumpkin with guava, who would have thought they would go well together.

    Stab, cleave, disembowel and hack the pumpkin, eh? Looks like you had a good Halloween Jude! :)

  12. Sandie says:

    As a recent convert to the taste of pumpkin, I’m finding the thought of this candied pumpkin irresistible. And cooked guava? Equally as intriguing… (lovely photos with this).

  13. Adam says:

    Did you purposely give your best Jason Voorhees impression in the cooking directions? Disembowel the pumpkin :) Nice recipe Jude, keep the Halloween rolling.

  14. Megan says:

    I have never heard of this! Thanks for introducing me to a new way to enjoy pumpkin!

  15. giz says:

    Guava could be a tough one to find in our neck of the woods. I so like the idea of pumpkin with ice cream – so much healthier than adding the sugar and flour -

  16. [eatingclub] vancouver || js says:

    This is why I read your blog: I always learn something new, something interesting. Pumpkin with guavas: who’d have thunk?

  17. Dee says:

    Lordy, the things you do to me :) Who would have thunk, indeed!

    I’ve also bookmarked your challah post because I’ve been meaning to try my hand at it. Will let you know how it goes.

  18. PG says:

    Awesome! This is something so new to me. wonderful! Pictures look beautiful and tempting! Like always. :)

  19. MyKitchenInHalfCups says:

    That is beautiful!
    I can’t believe it looks so reasonable to put together. I need another pumpkin.

  20. _ts of [eatingclub] vancouver says:

    How unusual! (Well, for me, at least).

  21. Lori – Yup. It’s actually from Diana Kennedy’s book. Pretty interesting variation with slaked lime.

    Caroline, Adam – :)

    Giz – No need to have the guava, of course

    Dee – Have fun!

    Thanks for dropping by everyone!

  22. Got Leftover Pumpkins? Make Our Easy Candied Pumpkin « Fab Frugal Food says:

    [...] brave food bloggers doing candied pumpkin: Candied Pumpkin, Desert Candy Candied Calabaza, Apple Pie, Patis and Pate Candied Squash, Laylita’s [...]

  23. Pumpkin Pie Redux says:

    [...] belong on a tart? I maintain that the answer is yes. My treatment of the pumpkin is inspired by calabaza en tacha, traditionally served during Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico. The challenge here was to [...]

  24. Celebrate This: Dia de Los Muertos | Life of the Party says:

    [...] Pie, Patis & Pate bring us this succulent recipe for Calabaza en Tacha or "candied pumpkin". Guava fruit also lend their exotic flavors to this traditional dish, making [...]

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