For all of you who may have already bought pie pumpkins for next week and are (perhaps) wondering what to do with them, reader Mary Sue has chimed in with an outstanding idea:
The only thing I’ve ever found fresh pumpkin good for is Calabaza en Tacha (pumpkin in syrup), a Mexican dish that’s typically made for Dias de los Muertos. I find it’s a show stopper when I bring it to Thanksgiving.
4 to 5 lbs Pumpkin
8 Cinnamon sticks and 4 cloves
½ c Orange Juice
4 cups water
1 lb raw sugar and 1 lb brown sugar, or 2 lb palm sugar
Cut the stem off the pumpkin, cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds and pulp. Cut each half into several strips and peel them. Cut the pumpkin flesh into medium 2½” to 3″ squares or triangles. With a sharp knife make diamond designs over the pulp if you wish.
Put the sugar in a pan with the cinnamon, cloves, orange juice, and water. Bring to a boil and stir until the sugar has dissolved.
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. When ready the top of the pumpkin pieces should look somewhat glazed, and the pulp soft and golden brown.
Let cool and serve with the syrup.
Wonderful! Thanks Mary Sue!