When I was a little girl I used to walk down the street to a teeny tiny small candy factory (the size of a walk in closet) that sat at the end of my block. For some reason the woman who worked there by herself took to me and my hundreds of questions. I was that kid, I’d knock on the door and ask if I could come in and watch. As time passed the woman looked forward to my visits and we became friends. She schooled me on the world of Mexican candy making. In the midst of making batches of cocadas, and cajeta… she would also make candied fruit. On the days when I was lucky she would have left over pumpkin and make calabaza en tacha and send me home with a batch for my family. My grandfather used to get so excited when I would arrive home with it. I ate mine plain and he would pour a little milk over his. Those were some of the most impressionable moments of my young childhood that will stick with me forever.
Thinking back on that time I wanted to make calabaza en tacha this year for Dia De Los Muertos. I remember how happy it used to make my grandfather and it makes me equally as happy to this day. I knew I would find EVERYTHING I would need to build my altar at Northgate Market , and I was right. Not only did they have all the ingredients I needed for my calabaza en tacha but I found pan de muerto, papel picado, marigolds, sugar skulls, and candles. This is the first year that I put an altar together since my grandfather has passed 4 years ago, and I wanted to make sure to offer him something I know he will love. *crying tears of eternal love and gratitude.
Ingredients for Calabaza En Tacha:
- 2.5 lbs. small pumpkin
- 4 cups water
- 2 lbs. piloncillo (5 cones)
- 1 orange – peeled into big strips
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- 4 cloves
- 1 anise star
- Cut pumpkin by removing the stem first. Cut the pumpkin down the middle and scoop out the seeds. Slice the pumpkin into 2 inch thick slices then set them to the side until ready to use.
- In a big stock pot over a medium high flame add water, piloncillo, orange peel (I used a potato peeler to peel the orange), cinnamon sticks, ground ginger, cloves, and anise star. Allow piloncillo to melt mixing occasionally because this will make a nice syrup mixture. Bring mixture to a boil.
- Once syrup is boiling add in pumpkin slices. Cover the pot with the lid and lower the flame to low. Cook for 1 hour.
- Place a few slices on a plate, and pour 1/4 cup of syrup over pumpkin slices.
- Pour a little milk or whipping cream over calabaza en tacha.
- Enjoy served warm.
Try my Dia De Los Muertos Gelatina Cake!