Cazuela - The Puerto Rican Pumpkin Spiced Dessert
Fall is here!! Cazuela is the perfect fall treat, the wonderful combination of squash, sweet potato and warm spices like cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg is to die for!! This is an old school Puerto Rican recipe that often doesn't get the credit it deserves, so you really have to try this one!
1 ½ lbs calabaza (Puerto Rican squash)
1 ½ lbs batata (sweet potatoes)
6 oz evaporated milk (½ can)
7 ½ oz cream of coconut (½ can)
7 ½ oz coconut milk (½ can)
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup fine ground rice flour
4 tbs butter, room temperature
1 cup shredded coconut
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground cloves
⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
(Makes 1, 9x13 tray)
Let’s start by roasting the squash and sweet potatoes, in order to get them good and soft. Start by cutting your sweet potatoes in half. Then place both the squash and the cut sweet potatoes onto a baking tray, lined with parchment paper. The parchment paper is just to minimize any clean up.
Turn your oven up to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Once hot, add your squash and sweet potatoes to the oven and cook them for an hour and a half. When you pull them out, you should be easily able to pierce them with a fork. Let the squash and sweet potatoes cool down for 10-15 minutes, until you can handle them comfortably. Once cool, use a knife to piece the top of the sweet potatoes, and then use a spoon to scoop out the soft meat underneath. Repeat for all of the sweet potatoes.
Next, proceed to prepare your squash. Use a knife to cut away any portions of the squash that appear burned, and then use the knife to cut away all of the squash’s skin. Add the remaining soft squash meat to your sweet potatoes.
Once your cooked squash and sweet potatoes are prepped, go ahead and add them to your food processor, along with the cream of coconut, the coconut milk, and the evaporated milk. Then use your food processor to blend the squash-milk mixture until smooth.
Once smooth, add your brown sugar, your rice flour, and your spices to the mixture and keep blending until smooth.
You might need to use a spatula to move the mixture, in order to ensure everything is completely mixed.
Once the mixture is smooth, add your eggs and blend until just mixed. Then add your shredded coconut and again blend briefly, just to combine.
With your mixture ready to go, prepare a 9x13 baking pan. Start by spraying the pan with vegetable oil, then spread parchment paper on the bottom in order to make it easy to remove the cazuela once it’s done. Once your parchment paper is in place, go ahead and give it another coating of cooking spray.
Once your baking pan is prepped, add the cazuela mixture to the tray and then tap the pan on the table to ensure that it is evenly distributed.
Make sure your oven is turned back on to 350 degrees fahrenheit and then add your cazuela and bake for one and a half hours.
An the end of the hour and half pull out the cazuela and check to make sure it is cooked by inserting a cake tester or a fork. If the cazuela is cooked, the cake tester will come out clean.
Once cooked, let your cazuela rest for 10-15 minutes. As it cools, you should notice the cazuela separating from the side of the baking tray, as it shrinks.
Once cool, cut your cazuela into small squares. I like to cut off the cazuela’s edges first, and then cut it into squares about one-and-a-half inches by one-and-a-half inches. But feel free to cut your cazuela differently if you prefer.
Once cut, transfer your cazuela to a serving tray and sprinkle with some sweetened coconut. This last step is optional, but I think it makes for a more visually appealing dessert.
And now you are officially ready to start celebrating fall.
Check out our instructional video, showing how to make this recipe step-by-step HERE.