Candied Pumpkin (Calabaza en Tacha) for #SundaySupper

by Renee on October 27, 2013

Candied Pumpkin (Calabaza en Tacha) | Magnolia Days

Pumpkin is classic symbol of Halloween. Jack O Lanterns glow throughout the night. Homes, businesses, and yards are decorated with all types and sizes. What I discovered recently is what some consider pumpkin is really squash. It depends on where you are too. All winter squashes are called pumpkins in many parts of the world. So it can be confusing that Candied Pumpkin (Calabaza en Tacha) is made with a winter squash that is also called a pumpkin.

So what lead me to posting about pumpkin? It all started with the announcement of a Halloween event for Sunday Supper. I wanted to do something different. That lead me to searching for Day of the Dead recipes. Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday that coincides with Halloween. I found where candied pumpkin is one of the dishes commonly served for Day of the Dead. I became very excited about the recipe because it gave me the opportunity to cook with ingredients I haven’t used before.

Ingredients for Candied Pumpkin - Calabaza en Tacha | Magnolia Days

What are those ingredients? First is the pumpkin or rather squash… let me clarify. It’s calabaza squash which is a winter squash also known as West Indian pumpkin. I’ve only seen it used to decorate with and never imagined cooking one. Then there is Piloncillo which is pure, unrefined cane sugar formed into cones. It tastes similar to brown sugar with a slight molasses flavor. A new sugar to try? Oh yea! Finally is the large Mexican cinnamon sticks. These sticks are much thicker than the ones typically found in the spice section at the grocery store. I found both the Piloncillo and cinnamon at a Latin market. The only ingredient I’ve used before is an orange.

Notes on the candied pumpkin (Calabaza en Tacha): If you make this for one reason only it will be for the syrup. When you reduce down the cooking liquid into the dark brown syrup you will have something special. I will use it for much more than drizzling over the squash. And speaking of the squash… I thought baked acorn squash topped my list however this now ranks higher. The sweet, tender, cinnamon-infused pumpkin is a real treat for sure. Serve it with a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream and it’s perfect for the season. Oh, one other other note: you will need a big, heavy-duty knife to cut the squash. It’s hard like butternut squash.

Candied Pumpkin - Calabaza en Tacha | Magnolia Days

Are you looking for Halloween recipes? Scroll down to find ones by Sunday Supper bloggers. They have really outdone themselves with fun, spooky, tasty, and delightful recipes for your celebration. Big thanks to Kathia of Basic N Delicious for hosting the event. Also, check out my Vampire Delight Martini for a great beverage to enjoy.

Candied Pumpkin (Calabaza en Tacha)

2 hours

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Candied Pumpkin (Calabaza en Tacha)

  • 1 calabaza squash (4-5 pounds) or other winter squash like butternut or sugar pumpkin
  • 2 cones brown sugar cane (Piloncillo)
  • 1 orange, zested and juiced
  • 3 to 4 Mexican cinnamon sticks
  • Whipped cream or ice cream for serving (optional)

Cut squash in half. Scoop out and discard seeds and stringy flesh. Cut squash into 12 wedges or 3-inch pieces.

Add 8 cups of water to a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven. Add brown sugar cane cones and bring to a boil.

When sugar dissolves, stir in orange juice, zest, and cinnamon sticks.

Add the squash wedges and return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Loosely cover and simmer until squash is completely tender, about 30 to 40 minutes.

Transfer the squash to a platter using a slotted spoon. Cover squash with foil.

Remove and discard cinnamon sticks. Strain liquid into a bowl to remove cinnamon bits, zest, and any solids.

Pour the liquid back into the pot and bring to a boil.

Cook until liquid reduces to a syrup (similar consistency to maple syrup), about 30 to 45 minutes.

Serve squash warm or at room temperature. Drizzle squash with syrup and top with whipped cream or ice cream if desired.

Notes

Calabaza squash is also called West Indian Pumpkin.

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Recipe adapted from one on the Goya website.

More Halloween recipes by Sunday Supper bloggers:

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{ 60 comments… read them below or add one }

kathia October 27, 2013 at 2:22 am

Love it, we have something very similar in Costa Rica that is actually a dessert. Thank you for sharing.

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Renee October 28, 2013 at 1:49 pm

Thanks Kathia and good to know it is popular in Costa Rica too.

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The Ninja Baker October 27, 2013 at 4:33 am

Yum! Very much appreciate your adventurous and tasty foray into candied pumpkin. Love that you’ve made 31 October truly an international celebration =)

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Renee October 28, 2013 at 1:48 pm

Thanks Kim and you are so kind as always.

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Paula @ Vintage Kitchen Notes October 27, 2013 at 7:09 am

I used candied pumpkin in my cheesecake, but next time I’m making my own and eating it with a spoon! Sounds so amazing with the orange and spices Renee! I always like how words can be used across the world.

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Renee October 28, 2013 at 1:47 pm

So much better to eat this tender, sweet candied pumpkin with a spoon! Your cheesecake is amazing too. Your crust called out to me.

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Stacy October 27, 2013 at 7:10 am

This kind of reminds me of my grandmother’s candied yams, Renee. How to make a vegetable less healthy but really delicious. This is it! Bet the whole house smells divine as it cooks too. Yum!

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Renee October 28, 2013 at 1:46 pm

It is very similar to a candied yam (or sweet potato) but the texture is a little different. And yes, the whole house smelled incredible when it was cooking.

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Katy October 27, 2013 at 7:33 am

I have just been introduced to piloncillo by a New Mexican friend – with the cinnamon and orange I can just imagine what an incredible syrup it makes. You’ve created such beautiful autumn flavors – I’m so glad I have some piloncillo to make this!

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Renee October 28, 2013 at 1:45 pm

Thanks Katy

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Liz October 27, 2013 at 7:50 am

Wow, this is such an intriguing recipe, Renee! I need to find some piloncillo and incorporate it into my baking. PS…I also want to sample your gorgeous candied pumpkin.

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Renee October 28, 2013 at 1:45 pm

I hope you do find and try piloncillo because it has the most amazing flavor.

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Renee - Kudos Kitchen October 27, 2013 at 9:04 am

What a great recipe! Looks like something I’ll have to try. Love squash!!!

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Renee October 28, 2013 at 1:44 pm

If you love winter squash you will love this. It’s such a great dessert.

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Family Foodie October 27, 2013 at 9:28 am

I have never tried candied pumpkin… what a fabulous idea. Your photography is absolutely gorgeous!

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Renee October 28, 2013 at 1:43 pm

Thanks Isabel

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Marjory @ Dinner-Mom October 27, 2013 at 9:42 am

Wow! This looks terrific and I love the background information to share at the table too.

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Renee October 28, 2013 at 1:43 pm

Oh thanks Marjory! I never thought about the info being table talk however it is great to share info about a dish during family meal time.

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Alice // Hip Foodie Mom October 27, 2013 at 10:19 am

Renee,
LOVE this! This time of the year is all about pumpkins, and any kind of squash.. . and love that you cooked with ingredients you haven’t used before. Love this!

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Renee October 28, 2013 at 1:42 pm

Thanks Alice and it was a great cooking adventure. I love discovering new foods and ingredients.

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Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers October 27, 2013 at 10:49 am

Candied Pumpkin? What a great idea! I LOVE it!!!!!!! I have to try this!

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Renee October 28, 2013 at 1:42 pm

Thanks Jennifer

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Susan October 27, 2013 at 11:06 am

At quick glance this looks like a slice of cantaloupe but we all know better that something more delicious is lurking under that cover!

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Renee October 28, 2013 at 1:41 pm

I thought it looked like cantaloupe too. I hope it isn’t confusing to someone just seeing the photo.

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Courtney @ Neighborfood October 27, 2013 at 11:14 am

I’ve never heard of candied pumpkin before but now I’m craving it. What a sweet treat for this season!

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Renee October 28, 2013 at 1:41 pm

Oh yes, great treat all the way through winter squash season. I may make it for Thanksgiving or Christmas.

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Kim@Treats & Trinkets October 27, 2013 at 11:26 am

What a unique pumpkin recipe! I don’t think I’ve seen one like it. Sounds simply delicious.

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Renee October 28, 2013 at 1:40 pm

Thanks Kim

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Megan October 27, 2013 at 11:49 am

Oh wow! I have an acorn squash staring at me begging to be cooked and I think I know exactly what I am going to do to it!

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Renee October 28, 2013 at 1:40 pm

I need to try this with acorn squash too. Great idea.

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Dorothy at Shockingly Delicious October 27, 2013 at 12:09 pm

Been waiting to see how you did this! That syrup would be great on morning oatmeal, or stirred into a cocktail.

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Renee October 28, 2013 at 1:39 pm

That syrup would be fabulous on lots of things and it’s the best syrup I’ve had in, well, possibly ever.

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Tara October 27, 2013 at 12:22 pm

Never seen brown sugar cones before, very cool! Love the idea of sweet pumpkin like this, perfect for Halloween!!!

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Renee October 28, 2013 at 1:38 pm

I’m going back to the market and stocking up on those sugar cones. They are wonderful.

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Nicole October 27, 2013 at 12:39 pm

Oh my goodness. Oh my… wow. I want this. I’ve never seen anything like it and I just want it. Now. Renee, this is amazing!

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Renee October 28, 2013 at 1:38 pm

Thanks Nicole and you have to make it soon. You will love it!

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Ruby @ The Ruby Red Apron October 27, 2013 at 1:04 pm

OMG I love that you made Candied Pumpkin for the Day of the Dead. And I’m Mexican so I know those ingredients very well LOL. Anyway, I’ve eaten but never actually made Candied Pumpkin. It’s so good! and you’re right that syrup is amazing stuff!

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Renee October 28, 2013 at 1:37 pm

Thanks so much Ruby and I’m glad it has the seal of approval from a Mexican and one who knows about candied pumpkin.

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Laura Dembowski October 27, 2013 at 1:27 pm

I’ve always wanted to try working with piloncillo, but I can’t find it. This pumpkin is such a unique dessert, and it seems kind of healthy too. Yay!

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Renee October 28, 2013 at 1:37 pm

Hopefully you can find piloncillo soon. Try a Latin market and I’m sure you will find it there.

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Lori October 27, 2013 at 4:15 pm

This is truly unique, Renee. I can tell you put a lot of work into this recipe and post, and it was well worth it! My husband travels to Mexico for work often, and loves the food there. I’m sure he would love this, too!

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Renee October 28, 2013 at 1:36 pm

Thanks Lori. It was fun cooking it too. And oh my how great the house smelled when it was simmering.

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Sarah Reid, RHNC (@jo_jo_ba) October 27, 2013 at 7:47 pm

I made this years ago with a friend of mine from COlumbia… that syrup is to die for

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Renee October 28, 2013 at 1:35 pm

Absolutely on the syrup. Not a single drop of it will go to waste here.

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Cheryl October 28, 2013 at 5:33 pm

What an interesting recipe to share on #SundaySupper, it sounds delicous. The syrup sounds just as scrumptious as the pumpkin!

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Renee October 29, 2013 at 3:31 pm

Thanks Cheryl and the sure really is scrumptious.

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Cindys Recipes and Writings October 28, 2013 at 10:12 pm

I couldn’t wait to see this recipe. Very cool!

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Renee October 29, 2013 at 3:32 pm

Thanks Cindy

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Jennie @themessybakerblog October 29, 2013 at 9:08 am

This is such a creative recipe, Renee. I love it!

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Renee October 29, 2013 at 3:34 pm

Thank you Jennie

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Anita at Hungry Couple October 29, 2013 at 11:21 am

Wow, that looks great. I’ve never had anything like it.

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Renee October 29, 2013 at 3:35 pm

It was a first for me and it won’t be the last time either. So good!

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Jane's Adventures in Dinner October 29, 2013 at 11:39 am

Amazing! I just made pumpkin pickles and now I know what to use the rest of my pumpkins for C:

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Renee October 29, 2013 at 3:35 pm

Pumpkin pickles? I’m so curious. I hope you are posting them on your blog.

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Sarah | Curious Cuisiniere October 30, 2013 at 9:48 am

This sounds delicious, and I just bought a butternut squash!

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Renee October 30, 2013 at 2:22 pm

Oh great! I want to make this with butternut squash too.

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Leigh @ The Kitchen Table Revolution October 30, 2013 at 9:53 am

I cannot wait to try this recipe. It looks like an amazing autumn dessert!

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Renee October 30, 2013 at 2:22 pm

It sure is Leigh and thanks!

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Bobbi's Kozy Kitchen November 1, 2013 at 6:13 pm

WOW this sounds so good! I am smack in the middle of a huge pumpkin obsession right now so this will be happening at my house soon!!

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Renee November 2, 2013 at 7:02 am

Well, if you are in a pumpkin obsession then you must make this. You will really enjoy it.

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