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Brazilian Pumpkin Spice Preserves (Doce de Abobora)

pumpkin preserves on a cheese board with toast

It’s that time of year when many of us start thinking about Autumn. After a long, hot summer, we might find ourselves daydreaming about cooler temperatures, changing leaves, and comfort food. In America, Fall is also the season of all things pumpkin spice. Breads, lattes, soups, candles–whatever you can think of, there is probably a pumpkin version. Which brings me to today’s unusual recipe: pumpkin spice preserves. 

Although Brazilians may not be quite as enthusiastic as Americans are about pumpkins, they do enjoy eating them in a variety of recipes. One dish that is not as common here in the States is a kind of pumpkin preserve called “doce de abobora.” This translates to “pumpkin sweet,” which is an accurate description of this syrupy spread. 

Brazilian pumpkin preserves also incorporate fresh, shredded coconut for more texture and sweetness. Warming spices like cinnamon and cloves are added for that quintessential pumpkin pie flavor. 

Preserves vs Jam

A jam is made using fruit that has been uniformly blended prior to cooking. This results in a smooth, spreadable consistency. Preserves are made with whole or large chunks of fruit, similar to a compote or a chutney. Because we will be using cubed pumpkin and shredded coconut, our recipe falls more under the preserves category. 

If you want, you could try adding a little orange or lemon zest to your preserves for more of a marmalade taste. 

What Do You Eat With Brazilian Pumpkin Preserves?

You will find that your doce de abobora pairs well with lots of things, both sweet and savory. It is, on its own, very sugary, so it does particularly well on a cheese board or on crusty french bread. That being said, don’t be afraid to double down on the sweetness. These preserves taste amazing, for example, on top of vanilla ice cream or french toast. 

Can I Use Butternut Squash Instead of Pumpkin?

Yes. As with most recipes, you can use butternut squash in place of pumpkin. The taste and texture will be nearly identical. Only the color will vary slightly. 

Can I Use Other Spices in My Pumpkin Spice Preserves?

Of course! Our recipe uses cloves and cinnamon, but feel free to add a little nutmeg, ground ginger, star anise, allspice, or even a little cayenne for some heat. 

Can I Use Canned Pumpkin for Pumpkin Preserves?

For preserves, you need large pieces of the pumpkin fruit. Canned pumpkin is typically pureed, so it won’t work well in this recipe. However, you can certainly use frozen pumpkin or butternut squash that has been pre-peeled and cut into chunks. 

Brazilian Pumpkin Spice Preserves (Doce de Abobora)

Yield: about 3 cups


1 pie /sugar pumpkin, cut into ½  inch cubes
3 cinnamon sticks
5-6 whole cloves
1 cup shredded coconut (sweet or unsweet)
1.5 cups sugar


  1. Combine all your ingredients except for the coconut in a large saucepan and heat over medium high. 
  2. When the pumpkin begins releasing some of its liquid and the sugar is melting, reduce the heat to low.
  3. Cover the pumpkin mixture and simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. Add in the coconut and cook for another fifteen minutes, until the pumpkin is very soft. 
  5. Give the mixture a rough mash with the back of a fork and stir to combine evenly. 
  6. Pour your pumpkin spice preserves into sterile jars for storing. If you are not using a sterile canning method, keep your preserves in the refrigerator for up to one week. 

More Great Fall Recipes to Try from Brazil:

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