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Dulce de Zapallo

This delicious dessert features slices of pumpkin caramelized in a syrup of whole spices, sweeteners and two types of rum to complement the gourd’s delicious natural flavor. In Ecuador you may find versions made with panela, or unprocessed cane sugar. If fresh pumpkin is not available, then any type of summer or winter squash may be substituted.

Dulce de Zapallo



  • 1 4½-lb (2-kg) pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cut into wedges
  • ⅔ C (150 g) brown sugar
  • 3 T plus 1 tsp (50 ml) Captain Morgan spiced rum
  • 3 T plus 1 tsp (50 ml) Myers’s dark rum
  • ¼ C (80 g) maple syrup
  • 2 T plus 1 tsp (50 g) honey
  • ⅓ C plus 1 tsp (75 g) unsalted butter, diced
  • 2 star anise
  • ½ cinnamon stick
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 vanilla bean, cut in half
  • 2½ T (20 g) cornstarch


  • ½ C (75 g) green brandysnap mix

Raspberry Sauce:

  • ¼ C (80 g) raspberry purée
  • Pinch xanthan gum

Caramel Sauce:

  • 3 T plus 1 tsp (40 g) sugar
  • 3 T plus 1 tsp (50 ml) heavy cream
  • 2 tsp (10 g) unsalted butter
  • Pinch sea salt


  • 10 2¾-oz (30-g) scoops coconut ice cream
  • 10 blueberries, cut in half
  • ¾ C (100 g) whipped cream
  • 10 slivers dried vanilla bean
  • ⅓ C (50 g) desiccated coconut, toasted
  • 10 sprigs fresh mint


Pumpkin: Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Place pumpkin in baking dish, combine sugar, rums, syrup and honey, pour over pumpkin, sprinkle butter on top, add star anise, cinnamon, bay leaf, cloves and vanilla bean, cover with foil, bake 20 minutes, turn pumpkin over, bake 10 minutes, transfer cooking liquid to pan over medium high, whisk and simmer in cornstarch until thickened, pour over pumpkin; chill 1 hour.

Brandysnaps: Preheat oven to 325°F (170°C). Roll out brandysnap mix, bake on Silpat 12-15 minutes; cool.

Raspberry Sauce: Whisk all ingredients together.

Caramel Sauce: Heat sugar in pan over medium until golden brown, cook cream, butter and salt 1-2 minutes.

Plating: Brush raspberry sauce onto plates, plate pumpkin and ice cream; decorate with blueberries, whipped cream, brandysnaps, vanilla bean slivers, caramel sauce, coconut and mint.

  • Prep time: 22 minutes.
  • Cook time: 1 hour.
  • Makes 10 servings.