What’s cooking today: Honey-spiced roast orange summer pumpkin

What’s cooking today: Honey-spiced roast orange summer pumpkin
Tony Jackman’s halved orange summer pumpkin roasted with honey, butter, spices and rosemary, served alongside a Mervyn Gers Ceramics jug. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

Pumpkin cooked with sugar and cinnamon is a South African tradition, but I wanted to adapt that core idea to a new way. Instead of sugar I used honey, while star anise, cumin, cardamom and turmeric brought spice and colour, with a hint of herbiness from rosemary.

Orange summer pumpkins are abundant right now. They’re the small, bright orange ones you’re probably seeing in the stores. Cute and round, they have a fairly slim circle of flesh beneath the skin and a large cavity suitable for stuffing. But I wanted to roast them with only yummy flavourings in there. 

The size is such that you could use half shells to serve pumpkin soup in, though you’d need to scoop out the flesh before making the soup so that the shells would still be hard enough to act as bowls. That’s a nice idea, but in this instance I cooked the whole (halved) pumpkin.

These were roasted for upwards of an hour at 190℃, but it’s important to cover the open, cut side with foil or the hot oven will dry the innards out.

This recipe is self-saucing in that the butter and honey combine with the pumpkin’s own juices to leave you with a fair amount of liquid. Just pour it off into a little jug, as I did, to serve alongside. They’ll be too hot to handle, so slide a spatula underneath to lift it up and pour it off.


(Serves 2 to 4)

1 orange summer pumpkin, roughly 1 kg

1 Tbsp honey

4 Tbsp butter

6 green cardamom pods

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground turmeric

2 star anise

½ tsp crushed dried garlic

2 rosemary sprigs

Salt to taste

White pepper


A half pumpkin would do as a light meal or probably work as a vegetarian dish if you swapped out the butter for, say, coconut oil. Or serve quarter portions alongside a main ingredient.

Preheat the oven to 190℃. Cut the pumpkin in half through the middle and scoop out the seeds.

In a ramekin, mix together the butter, cumin, turmeric and garlic (it comes out something like the colour of pumpkin) and spread this evenly over the cut flesh of the pumpkin halves. Season with salt and white pepper. 

In each half, put 1 star anise, 1 rosemary sprig, 3 cardamom pods, and spoon in 1 Tbsp honey.

Cover tightly with foil and place skin (round) side down on an oiled baking sheet.

Bake until the flesh is soft when pierced with a fork or sharp knife. After every 15 minutes, remove from oven, lift foil and spoon the baste over the flesh including the edges. Cover again and return to the oven.

Lift up the halves with a spatula and pour the juices into a small jug or bowl, to serve alongside. DM/TGIFood

Tony Jackman is Galliova Food Champion 2021. His book, foodSTUFF, is available in the DM Shop. Buy it here

Mervyn Gers Ceramics supplies dinnerware for the styling of some TGIFood shoots. For more information, click here.

Follow Tony Jackman on Instagram @tony_jackman_cooks. Share your versions of his recipes with him on Instagram and he’ll see them and respond.

SUBSCRIBE to TGIFood here. Also visit the TGIFood platform, a repository of all of our food writing. 


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