Day of the Dead Dessert: Chilacayote

Day of the Dead Desserts: Chilacayote

For three years I have focused on world-famous and omnipresent dish of Fiambre as the main food served for Day of the Dead and All Saints’ Day in Guatemala. I believe that has been too much emphasis on a salad, which mostly has meats, all kinds: sausages, hams, chicken, sea food, meats pork and beef; don’t you think?

Fiambre SlideShow - 16 Guatemalan Cuisine: Fiambre

Once again, I have to thank Erin who mentioned last week it was about time to begin preparing “fiambre” and the dulce de ayote. It is amusing that one needs other people to point the obvious. I say this because every year my wife and I set up a Day of the Dead Altar which amalgamates the Mexican and the Guatemalan tradition with foods from both cultures and of course with plenty of desserts.

Chilacayote is basically a Guatemalan-type of squash sweet or candy. I don’t have the recipe, but I am sure Erin or other kind Guatemalan will come forward with the recipe for chilacayote, camotes and dulce de ayote… anyone, anyone?

Here’s one more dose of Sobrevivencia… A Guatemalan Mayan rock band. This time Sobrevivencia performs a rock version of “Guate caricia.” Enjoy!

© 2009 – 2013, Rudy Girón. All rights reserved.

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  • Want it

  • The three pictures are delicious, sorry don’t know how to make this. But i definatly know how they taste.

  • Erick

    The fiambre looks fantastic. Also, is there such thing as “fresco de chilacayote”? The word chilacayote seems to ring a bell from back in my days in Guate.

  • sjbj

    Recipe, please!!

  • Guy

    My wife’s favourite Guatemalan dessert and she doesn’t really like sweet stuff! Her grandmother used to make a very good one I’m told.

  • Erin

    Here we go with the chilacayote recipe; however, before that, I would like to add some probably useful information:
    CHILACAYOTE: Cucurbita ficifolia is an annual vine or trailing plant grown at high altitudes for its edible seeds, fruit, and greens. English names for the plant include chilacayote, chiverre, fig-leaved gourd, malabar gourd, Malabar squash, pie melon, or shark fin melon. In Spanish it is known as alcayota, cayote, cidra, chilacayote, chiverre, or sambo. It shows considerable biochemical difference from the other members of its genus, and does not hybridize readily with them.
    The most difficult part is to cut the chilacayote in pieces and peel, since the skin is very hard.
    Once you have the pieces (don’t remove the fibres and seeds, because they are delicious too), dissolve about 1/4 cup of “cal” (calcium carbonate) in fresh water, enough to cover the chilacayote pieces and let them soak for at least eight hours. Drain and rinse.
    In a large pot and high heat, mix water and sugar (the approximate ratio is 4 parts of water and 1 part of sugar), stirring well. Add the chilacayote pieces and cover. When starts to boil, reduce the heat to the minimum and let simmer for about 6-8 hours.
    Please don’t forget to check the pot from time to time. If you notice that is getting dry and is not cooked yet, just add more water, 1 cup at a time. Don’t let the chilacayote pieces fall apart.
    Optional: if you like, you can add some spices like a piece of fresh ginger, orange peel, cinnamon, among others.
    Good luck and enjoy!

  • Rudy, I would love to see pictures of the altar that you & your wife set up.

  • Alicia Francisco

    Thank you…I am making some now and I didn’t know if I should add cinnamon. Very helpful!