Recipe courtesy of Betsy McNair, My Mexico Tours
Calabaza en Tacha
1 4 – 5 lbs Pumpkin
8 Cinnamon sticks
4 cups water
2 lbs Piloncillo (Mexican unrefined brown sugar, often in cone form. Available in all our latino markets.)
Cut the pumpkin into wedges. Remove seeds and strings. With a sharp knife cut some slashes into the pulp so the syrup can get in. You can get creative here if you like.
Put the sugar in a pan with the cinnamon and water. Bring to a boil and stir until the piloncillo has dissolved. (I added the peel of a clemetine because I had it, but you could also use orange peel or leave it out altogether.)
Place the first layer of pieces of pumpkin upside down so they absorb as much juice as possible. The second layer should be with the pulp upwards. Cover and simmer until the pulp is soft and golden brown. I’ve also cooked this successfully in the oven at about 325 degrees F.
Let cool and serve with the syrup. It gets better with time and lasts for a good while in the refrigerator.