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Turkish Pumpkin with Walnuts | Kabak Tatlisi

A decorative stand with a pile of cubed cooked pumpkin that is topped with walnuts.
For this Turkish pumpkin dessert, pumpkin (or any winter squash) chunks are slow roasted in a sugar syrup and then sprinkled with toasted buttered walnuts.
Paula Wolfert

Prep 15 mins
Cook 2 hrs
Total 2 hrs 15 mins
4 servings


  • 1 1/3 to 1 3/4 pounds pumpkin, or other sweet, edible winter squash such as butternut or Hubbard
  • 1 cup superfine sugar (or you can make your own by blitzing granulated sugar in a blender until fine but not powdery)
  • 1/3 cup walnuts (halves or pieces), preferably freshly shelled
  • 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
  • 1 cup cultured cream such as crème fraîche, whipped cream, or Greek yogurt (optional)


Prepare the pumpkin

  • Peel and trim the pumpkin. You should have about 1 pound. Cut the squash into 1-inch chunks.
  • Toss the pumpkin with the sugar in a shallow ceramic baking dish and let stand until the squash weeps and the sugar dissolves, at least 30 minutes and perhaps as long as 1 hour.

Roast the pumpkin

  • Crank the oven to 300°F (150°C).
  • Use a wooden spoon to toss the pumpkin and sugar. Cover with a crumpled sheet of damp parchment paper and bake for 1 1/2 hours, until the juices bubble and the pumpkin is tender throughout. Turn off the oven but do not remove the dish. Instead, let the pumpkin cool inside the warm environment so it can continue to reabsorb the syrupy juices. Store the pumpkin and its syrup in a cool place or in the refrigerator to allow the flavors to meld. Let the pumpkin return to room temperature before serving.

Assemble the dessert

  • Just before serving, melt the butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the walnuts and cook, tossing frequently, until they're glistening. Spoon the squash and a few teaspoons of the syrup into individual serving bowls and sprinkle with the toasted walnuts. Garnish with dollops of cultured cream, whipped cream, or yogurt, if desired.