November 26, 2009

Pumpkin Dessert

Today I am tasked with dessert for this afternoon's Thanksgiving dinner. I just put a raspberry pie in the oven, made with frozen raspberries from this summer's crop. But what would Thanksgiving be without a dish made with pumpkin? Instead of another pie, I made a dessert, found in Claudia Roden's Mediterranean Cookery (sadly out of print) that is from Valencia and is called Arnadi de Carabassa. This recipe is said to be very old and of Arab origin. Its main flavors are pumpkin and almond, with a zing of lemon.

About 3 lbs of pumpkin
2 eggs
grated rind of 1/2 lemon
1 teas cinnamon
1 cup sugar, more or less to taste
1 1/2 cups ground almonds (I didn't grind the almonds very fine but left some tiny pieces for texture; I don't know if this is accurate for the original recipe, but you can choose to grind more finely.)

1/4 cup blanched almonds
confectioners sugar

  1. If using a whole pumpkin, slice it in half, scoop out seeds and fibers, brush cut sides with vegetable oil and bake, cut sides down, on a cookie sheet in a 400º oven till tender; this takes generally 45 minutes to an hour. If you are using large pieces of pumpkin, put them in a baking dish and cover with foil and bake till tender.
  2. To remove any excess moisture in the pumpkin flesh you can mash it in a large pan over medium heat for a few minutes, turning it over several times.
  3. Beat the eggs with the lemon rind, cinnamon and sugar and mix in ground almonds. Add mashed pumpkin and mix well. Place in a large ovenproof dish.
  4. Bake in a 300º oven for an hour, till it feels firm and is lightly colored.
  5. Place blanched almonds point up in the dessert and dust with some confectioners sugar.


  1. Did that taste as good as it looks?

  2. Yes, it was a success. My dinner companions loved it; we all agreed that having a bit of crunch from the almonds was better than having them ground so fine as to make the texture of the pudding more like that of a pumpkin pie.