Candied Pumpkin Pie
You can candy most anything with slight adjustments for the fruit or vegetable. It all starts with an idea of what you’d like to do with the finished product.
Here we have candied kabochya, a Japanese pumpkin, much denser than the American varieties. Here, I simply sliced the pumpkin and put it in a plastic ziplock bag with leftover orange syrup for two weeks. I did this to show you how hands free candying can be.
During that two weeks, twice I poured the syrup into a pot and boiled it for a few minutes to evaporate some of the water. I poured it back when it was cool enough.
It wasn’t fully candied by the time I needed to use it, there were still some starches near the rind, but my purpose was a baked pie. So I lined my orange infused pumpkin into a pastry lined tart shell, added slices of candied orange peel with just a bit of syrup to cover the bottom, and sealed the top. After 45 minutes in a 180/350 degree oven it was done. The next morning I had Candied Pumpkin Pie for breakfast. What could be easier?
Had I wanted to eat this as is, or had I wanted to introduce more flavors into the pie, I would have added a cinnamon stick, a few slices of ginger, and a couple of cloves to the syrup. The heating would release their oils into the syrup and the candying process would place them deep within the fruit.
When candying squash the easiest method is to place syrup over the cut squash for three to five days to firm the edges, insuring against disintegration. After gather the syrup in a pot, boil it, and pour the boiling syrup over the squash. That “cooks” the fruit — which isn’t necessary — but speeds the process along by damaging the cells in the squash. Every few days boil the syrup to remove more water. How long the process takes depends on the how thickly you slice or cube the vegetable.
My favorite squash for this treatment include spaghetti squash, butternut, kabochya, and American pumpkin.
Once candied you can use them in cakes, pies, cookies, and even stuffing.