Saturday, October 10, 2015
Nothing makes me realize more vividly that another year has just past by than the mountains of orange pumpkins piling up in my local food stores. And each year I look for another recipe to use as much as possible of that giant Halloween pumpkin.
Unlike most other fruits and vegetables, which these days always grow at some point somewhere else, in a different climate zone, pumpkins are very seasonal. They appear in September and October and usually after Halloween it is hard to find them anymore. So, this pumpkin season, I would like to try two new pumpkin recipes.
The first idea, for a pumpkin and feta pie, comes from the Greek culinary tradition. It is similar to a classic spanakopita with the pumpkin filling replacing the spinach. However, in all the Greek recipes I found, dry mint was also added to the pumpkin-feta filling and, when I tried it for the first time, the taste of the mint was too dominant and overshadowed the delicate taste of the pumpkin, which is what I was hoping would give this pie its special character. So, when I was making it for the second time, I replaced the mint with a dash of dried thyme and I think this worked much better. But I also think that just a plain pumpkin-feta filling would work as well.
Savory Pumpkin and Feta Pie
(For a 9-inch baking dish>
8-10 sheets filo dough,
2 lb peeled and grated pumpkin,
1 medium leek, washed well, sliced (or one large onion chopped),
3 medium eggs,
1 cup crumbled feta cheese,
1 cup milk,
1 tsp dried thyme,
1/3 cup olive oil,
ground pepper to taste.
1. Preheat oven to 325F.
2. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil and fry leeks until transparent. Set them aside.
3. On the same pan heat another 2 tbsp of oil and add grated pumpkin. Fry it for about 5 minutes until it softens.
4. Add leeks to the pan with the pumpkin filling, mix them in, and simmer for another 3 minutes.
5. Pour milk into a large bowl. Add eggs and beat together. Add crumbled Feta, pepper, and thyme (if used). Mix all the ingredients. Add fried pumpkin to the bowl and gently mix everything together.
6. Grease the baking dish with oil and spread the first filo sheet, so that its edges hang out over the dish. Brush in some olive oil on it and put another layer. Follow the same procedure with the remaining sheets.
7. Spread the pumpkin filling on top of the filo. Fold the overhanging pieces of the pastry in and brush them with olive oil.
8. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until the filling is set and the filo becomes gold.