Mexican restaurant Mamasita’s popularity shows no signs of slowing down and the queues for a table still snake down the stairs every night. Melbourne’s love affair with Mexican food clearly continues and ensured a big turn out for Mamasita chef Scott Edington’s recent cooking class at the Queen Victoria Market Cooking School. Scott demonstrated a host of different recipes from Mamasita, some more complex than others. My favourite was Mamasita’s take on a Mexican dessert – Calabaza En Tacha – or candied pumpkin.
In Australia, pumpkin is usually a vegetable rather than a dessert but the sweetness of pumpkin works really well at the tail end of a meal. Mamasita puts this candied pumpkin dessert on as a special in winter but I think it’s so good they should offer it all year.
Slow cooking the pumpkin makes it really sweet and soft. Then the addition of toasted pumpkin seeds adds crunch and lime cream offers a tangy contrast.
It’s the perfect post taco dessert.
- 1 Japanese pumpkin
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 1 orange
- 500g piloncillo or brown sugar
- 4 cups water
- 150g pumpkin seeds
- 50g sugar
- Pinch smoked jalapeno powder or cayenne powder
- Pinch toasted ground cumin
- 100g créme fraiche
- 3 limes
- Cut the pumpkin into eight to ten long pieces of pumpkin. Leave the skin on but get rid of the seeds and stringy parts.
- Juice and zest the orange and add both to a saucepan along with the piloncillo, cinammon sticks and water. Bring to the boil.
- Add the pumpkin pieces and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for approximately two hours or until you can easily put a fork through the pumpkin and the sauce has reduced to a thick glaze. Remove from heat and let it cool to room temperature.
- Meanwhile toast the pumpkin seeds in a dry pan. Add the sugar and over a high heat fold together until it caramelises.
- Spread out on a flat tray lined with baking paper and season with spices and a little salt.
- Now make some lime crema by mixing the créme fraiche and zest of the limes together. Adjust consistency with a little lime juice.
- Serve the pumpkin in individual wedges topped with the candied seeds and a drizzle of the lime crema.