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Sweet Dreams

September 23, 1998|ANDY BRODER

Saturating fruit in sugar (or more precisely sugar syrup) is an old-fashioned way to preserve it. The process can take several days. In France, the best fruit glacees maintain the fruit's original shapes and colors and are very expensive. The French often use needles to pierce the skin and pump sugar into the soon-to-be-delicacy.

In Mexico, camote (sweet potato) and calabaza (pumpkin) are cooked over several days in sugar syrups to make a traditional confection. Technically we're talking about a root and a squash, but they have all the taste of their pricier French cousins. The calabaza is creme bru^lee-crunchy on the outside and creamy on the inside. The camote is reminiscent of the filling in sweet potato pie. Form a dessert trio by including some sticky cocada (baked coconut cakes), which are like sticky toasted coconut macaroons.

Dulce de camote (sweet potato), 55 cents per piece, dulce de calabaza (pumpkin), 60 cents per piece, and cocada (coconut cakes), 55 cents per piece) available at Bardovi & Kazan, the Grand Central Market, downtown Los Angeles, (213) 629-3775.

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