MÉRIDA, Yucatán, (October 25, 2021).- On these autumnal dates, the markets abound with pumpkin, a huge orange fruit that is characteristic in the United States as decoration and recipes for Halloween, however, in Yucatán, there is a local recipe to prepare the Yucatecan pumpkin “Calabaza”.
The state of Yucatán is known for its so-called sweets in syrup, some of which are sold throughout the year and others seasonally, at the time the fruit is harvested.
Among these sweets is the pumpkin, which is also offered on the altars of Hanal Pixán as one of the meals for the deceased.
In Yucatán, pumpkin sweets are prepared with an infusion of water with cinnamon, sweetened with sugar, honey, or brown sugar, to which the fruit is added (already peeled and in pieces), until it has a thick candy color consistency.
“Calabaza en Tacha” for Altar of the Dead
If you are looking to try a different recipe and use the orange pumpkin that is sold in the markets, you have to know that in other parts of Mexico it is customary to place a sweet dish of this type of pumpkin as part of the offering on the Day of the Dead.
This dessert is known as “Tacha Pumpkin” because the container that was used to evaporate the cane juice and obtain sugar was called “tacha”.
Tacha Pumpkin Recipe
The recipe is very simple as it requires few ingredients, however, it takes several hours. Here is the traditional recipe:
- 10 cups of water
- 14 piloncillo cones
- 4 cups of sugar
- 8 cinnamon sticks
- 1 tablespoon of anise seeds
- 1 teaspoon cloves
- 2 large squash or winter squash (Pumpkin)
- 4 tablespoons lime
- Heat the water in a large pot.
- Add the piloncillo, the sugar and the cinnamon sticks.
- With a piece of cheesecloth, form a bag and place the anise seeds and cloves there, close it so they do not come out and place it in the pot with the piloncillo.
- Cook over low heat for about three hours, until you get the consistency of honey.
- Meanwhile, cut the squash into large chunks and place in a saucepan with enough water to cover them.
- Add the lime, so that the pumpkin does not fall apart during cooking, and let it soak for three hours.
- Drain and wash very well.
- Combine the pumpkin with the piloncillo honey and cook over low heat, until the pumpkins are soft.
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