Turkish Pumpkin Candy Dessert from Ottoman times. I made this simple recipe with minimal effort yet maximum satisfaction. After trying so many sweet pumpkin desserts last Autumn, I concluded that only savoury pumpkin dishes were for me. Well, I changed my mind after trying this Turkish sweet. I tried my hand at it for the first time in Autumn (2021) and it was simply Love at first Taste!! A friend from my Alma Mater suggested I try making Kabak Tatlisi and ever since then, it has become our favourite Autumn Dessert. It’s still a favourite during Winter even!
Diabetic Friendly, Vegan and Gluten-Free.
Never had pumpkin as a dessert on its own? Forget about your classic pumpkin pie and make this super easy Turkish Sweet Delight. This Turkish Pumpkin Candy Dessert will be a hit with your family especially during the holidays. Being Vegan, gluten-free and so easy to make, my recipe is also Diabetic friendly with a couple of tweaks.
I substituted sugar with Erythritol and clotted cream with Creme Fraiche (need to watch my calories and sugar GI levels). It still turned out sooo good! Ever since this new discovery, we have had it every week. The bonus part of this dessert is that with reasonable portions, it did not disrupt my blood glucose levels.
While being a super easy recipe with a basic of only 3 ingredients, you can enhance the flavour with the addition of ginger and a couple of other spices. It’s all a matter of personal taste and preference. You even have a choice of optional garnishing (tahini, clotted cream, creme fraiche) and coarsely chopped nuts as a final topping (walnuts and pistachios).
How to prepare and clean a pumpkin.
Mature pumpkins are best to use for kabak tatlısı. If the skin is tough, use a knife to peel the pumpkin. Vegetable peelers are better for younger, thinner-skinned pumpkins and squashes. Cut the pumpkin in half, and scrape out the seeds and pulp with a large metal spoon.
Lay the pumpkin halves flat side down, and cut in half again, repeat until you have the required amount of segments.
Save the seeds. Remove the seeds from the pulp, and rinse. Pat dry, place on a baking tray in a medium-hot oven, and bake for 10 minutes. I use toasted pumpkin seeds in oats, yogurts, salads and my favourite is garnish for Pumpkin Soup.
How to make Turkish Pumpkin Candy Dessert.
There are 2 options to make this dessert, on stove top or in the Oven.
Place pumpkin pieces in a large heavy bottom pot in one layer and sprinkle spices (optional) and sugar over. cover and set aside overnight for best results. Minimum 6 hours. Pumpkin juices will be released and dissolve the sugar.
Method 1 : Boil pumpkin cubes in it’s juice till soft but not mushy. Cool and serve with choice of garnishings and toppings.
Method 2 : Place pumpkin pieces in one layer on a baking tray and pour it’s juice over it. Bake for 30 mins. Cool and serve with choice of garnishings and toppings.
How To Serve Turkish Pumpkin Candy Dessert.
You can serve the candied pumpkin with the following options :
A dollop of clotted cream or creme fraiche, A drizzle of tahini paste, Coarsely chopped Nuts OR go all out and have a bit of everything! My husband loves it with creme fraiche and pistachios and I enjoy it with tahini sauce and walnuts.
Other Pumpkin Recipes
Try another Turkish Dessert : Muhallebi (Mahalabia) Milk Pudding
Prefer a Savoury Pumpkin Dish instead? Try Savoury Sweet Pumpkin Fry (Labu Masak Cili)
Turkish Pumpkin Candy Dessert
- 1 Large heavy bottom pot OR oven pan
- 1 Large Sharp knife
- 450 gm pumpkin – weight after cleaned
- 1 cup sugar I used Erythritol (diabetic friendly)
- 1-2 tablespoons tahini/clotted cream/creme fraiche
- 1 thumb size ginger julienned and optional
- 1 stick cinnamon small stick and optional
- a few cardamom pods crushed and optional
- Pistachios or walnuts for garnish crumbled and optional
- Peel, wash and cut the pumpkin. Remove seeds and clean the fibrous parts out. Cut the pumpkin into desired wedge/cube sizes or rectangular pieces of about 1×2 inches (3×5 cm)
- Place the pumpkin pieces and spices in a large heavy bottom pot, preferably a Dutch oven. The pot must be large because the maximum number of pumpkin pieces must touch the bottom in a single layer.
- Sprinkle sugar and choice of spices if any over the pumpkin pieces.
- Cover with lid and set aside overnight or at least 6 hours. Best results always overnight and especially so if using erythritol instead of sugar.
- The pumpkin pieces will release their juice during the sitting time, so there is no need to add extra water while boiling it. If the juices do not almost cover the pieces, then add just a little water. I have never had to add any water.
- Place the pot with pumpkin cubes on stove and bring it to a boil on medium high heat. Once it starts to boil, immediately lower heat to medium low and leave uncovered.
- Simmer until soft but not mushy. Let it cool completely in the same pot.
- Preheat oven at 180C/375F. Place the pumpkin cubes/slices on a baking pan in one layer. Pour the juice over pumpkin slices. Bake for 20-30 minutes until tender. Let it cool completely.
After pumpkin pieces have been Cooked.
- Once cooled, transfer to an airtight container or covered dish. Refrigerate for minimum 30 minutes to an hour. Can be served hot too but most commonly served as a cold dessert.
- Serve with a drizzle of tahini sauce OR a dollop of clotted cream OR creme fraiche. It's a matter of personal taste and diet preference.
- You can optionally garnish it with crumbled pistachio or walnuts.
- substitute sugar with Erythritol or similar.
- substitute clotted cream with creme fraich