Pumpkin Compote (Doce de abobora)

In Brazil, we have a long tradition of compote and sweet preserves, which are usually enjoyed as desserts with our fresh young cheese. My grandmother would make some in the autumn with the bumper crops from our orchards, bitter oranges, green papayas or figs, and pink guavas in a good year. They would usually be exchanged as presents for friends or pressed on visiting family members.

These compotes can be soft or hard, with whole fruit syrup or a paste, and even named after the specific fruit they were made of: goiabada with guava, or marmelada with quince. They are served in gorgeous crystal and glass containers for effect, especially in countryside farmsteads and traditional pousadas (B&Bs).

A very popular version was always Doce de Abobora – made with pumpkin and coconut.

Working with the Avon Gleaning Network this year, I ended up agreeing to save a lot of carving pumpkins from being composted. They are not particularly flavoursome, making them a great vehicle for the spices to shine in this sweet compote – but you could still use any other pumpkin or squash you have to hand. I also adapted the recipe, taking out the coconut to keep it sustainable and making it runnier so that it could easily be used as spread or jam instead.


Chop your pumpkin into cubes.

Add all the ingredients to a large pan. Cook on a medium heat for 30 minutes. There is no need to add water as the pumpkin will release enough of it. Stir every so often so that it does not get caught on the bottom of the pan.

Keep an eye on the mix, when the pumpkin starts to fall apart, lower the heat and start stirring until you get a smooth consistency. Take off the heat and transfer to a jar/jars while the mixture is warm.

I like serving this with yogurt or fromage frais and a sprinkle of homemade granola. It will keep in the fridge for 20 days.