Pumpkin Spoon Sweet

Balkabak Tatlisi


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes about

    16 spoonfuls

Appears in

Pumpkin is used in savory and sweet dishes in the Sephardic kitchen. In Sicily and Spain, the pumpkin for this confection was cooked first in water until tender, drained, and then simmered in sugar syrup until it became a jam, at which point it was used as a cake filling. In Sicily, it might be scented with jasmine flowers, a little cinnamon, orange-flower water, or rose water. The tradition of pumpkin sweets made its way to Turkey, where chopped walnuts or pine nuts were added to the already-rich conserve.


  • 1 pumpkin, about 2 pounds, halved, seeded, peeled, and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 cups sugar
  • cup water, or as needed
  • 2 lemon zest strips, each 3 inches long a few whole cloves, or 1 cinnamon stick (optional)
  • ½ cup chopped toasted walnuts or pine nuts (optional)
  • clotted cream (optional)


Layer the pumpkin pieces in a shallow saucepan, sprinkling the sugar between the layers. Add the cup water, the lemon zest strips, and the cloves or cinnamon, if using. Place over low heat, cover, and cook until the pumpkin has absorbed almost all of the water and is tender, about 30 minutes. If all the water is absorbed, and the pumpkin is not yet tender, add a little more water and continue to cook until tender. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Spoon the cooled pumpkin into a bowl and sprinkle with the walnuts or pine nuts, if using. Serve as is or with clotted cream at a dairy meal.