Pumpkin Cazuela

It’s hard to believe how many traditional Puerto Rican desserts we’re now discovering as adults, including one of our new favorites Cazuela de Calabaza. This pumpkin dessert has been a national classic for several decades and it’s as good as any cheesecake.

Yet, it doesn’t involve cheese, milk or eggs. You just mix three basic ingredients that are nutrient dense and bake them in a clay pot or baking mold. If you want to go very traditional, you can bake it “Loiza-style” wrapped in plantain leaves over a wood fire. It comes out simply divine.

A predominantly Afro-Caribbean community on the northeastern coast of Puerto Rico, Loiza is known for carrying so many of our most treasured culinary traditions. It’s where we learned about this amazing dessert. Usually recipes like this one are passed on by word of mouth, but luckily a beloved local cook María Dolores de Jesus decided to gather some of this collective memory in a beautiful cookbook called El Burén de Lula: Cocina Artesanal.

While another version of this recipe exists on the Carmen Aboy Valldejulli’s cookbook Cocina Criolla, we prefer the previous version for it’s flavor and the fact that it doesn’t include eggs.

As Nabol explains it, cazuela is like a hybrid between a cheesecake and a bread pudding, but it’s even more delicious. This Afro-Caribbean specialty is prepared with coconut, sweet potato and pumpkin, which are essential ingredients in our island’s cuisine. The original version also uses butter, but you can use coconut oil to keep it completely vegan. Hope you enjoy it.

Cazuela de Puerto Rico


  • 1 Pound of pumpkin
  • 1 Pound of sweet potato
  • 1 ½ Cups of flour
  • 1/3 Can Coco Lopez (or any coconut cream)
  • Cinnamon to taste
  • 1 Pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 Pinch of salt
  • Coconut flakes
  • Butter or coconut oil to grease baking mold
Takes , serves 4-6.


  1. Preheat oven at 375 degrees. Remove the skin of the sweet potato and pumpkin, cut them in cubes and boil them until soft. Allow them to cool and mash them with the coconut cream. Mix in the spices and flour.
  2. Grease the mold with butter or coconut oil. Pour the mix in the mold and bake at 325 degrees. Cook for about 1 hour or until a knife comes out clean.
  3. Sprinkle the coconut flakes on top and cook for another 10 minutes.
  4. Keep in mind that the cazuela won’t harden like a cake or cheesecake. It should be somewhat soft and moist. Let it rest inside the oven for at least 15 minutes and for at least 3 hours in the fridge before serving.

Click here for the Spanish Version of this post.

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