Pumpkin with Prunes

Komida de Balkabak kon Prunas

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves

    6 to 8

Appears in

Sephardic Flavors: Jewish Cooking of the Mediterranean

Sephardic Flavors

By Joyce Goldstein

Published 2000

  • About

Including dried fruits in savory dishes is typical of Arab-Moorish cuisine. This heritage is present in Méri Badi’s Sephardic recipe for sweet pumpkin (bal is “honey” and kabak is “pumpkin”) and prunes. This dish resembles hlou, the Moroccan-Jewish compote of pumpkin and apricots, and would be an ideal accompaniment to roast chicken or grilled lamb. Originally cooking time for the pumpkin and prunes was one hour. I ended up with homely mush. Therefore, I have reduced the cooking time drastically so that both the pumpkin and prunes hold their shape. I also have used the prune soaking liquids instead of water, as they enrich the flavor of the dish.


  • 1 pumpkin or butternut squash, about 2 pounds, halved, seeded, peeled, and cut into 1½-lnch cubes
  • ½ cups pitted prunes, plumped in 2 cups hot water for 1 hour
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  • ½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)


In a large, heavy saucepan, combine the squash cubes, plumped prunes and their soaking liquid, olive oil, lemon zest and juice, sugar, salt, and the cinnamon, if using. Stir well, bring to a boil over medium heat, reduce the heat to low, and cook uncovered, stirring from time to time, until the squash is tender and the liquid has been absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Check occasionally to make sure there is enough liquid in the pan, or the squash will scorch. Add a little water as needed to prevent burning.

Taste and adjust the seasonings. Serve warm or at room temperature.