It’s the season of halloween and thanksgiving and pumpkins.
Their lovely orange hues are a warming sight when the weather starts to turn chilly. And they’re not just a pretty face, they are multi – talented. They can either be turned into a funky lantern for your halloween do or into glowing soups, risottos, roasted and my favourite …pumpkin pies or kolokopittas as they are known in Cyprus.
In the States of course it is obligatory to have pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, which has just passed by for another year, but in Cyprus they too have their own version … of pie that is, not Thanksgiving.
These little pies are a delight because they are savoury and yet sweet and can satisfy hunger at any time of day. Although I remember fondly eating them, I didn’t think to ask for a recipe for these while I was in Cyprus.But with the aid of the internet and memory I combined a few versions and came up with a very passable recipe which I will share with you. Interestingly they include fennel which gives them another depth of flavour. The bulgur wheat is added to soak up the moisture from the pumpkin and sometimes rice is used instead.
First pick, pluck or buy your pumpkin. Then cut into slices and remove the pith and pips.
Cut off the tough outer skin and then chop the flesh into small cubes, no bigger than 1cm. square. They need to be small as otherwise they will take too long to cook.
In a bowl, combine the pumpkin, these quantities go with about 1 lb of pumpkin, with :-
a handful of raisins
1 tablespoon full of olive oil
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
½ bulb of fennel finely chopped
a handful of crushed almonds
1 ½ heaped tablespoons of brown muscovado sugar
a good pinch or two of salt and a grinding or two of pepper
½ large cup of bulgur wheat
My own addition is a crushed grain or two of masticha
Mix all these ingredients thoroughly so that the pumpkin is coated in everything.
Make some short crust pastry using:-
8 ozs. flour and 4 ozs butter plus a pinch of salt
rubbed well in to resemble breadcrumbs and mixed with cold water to make a dough.
Roll out the pastry thinly and cut into rounds using a saucer as your guide. Fill the centre with the filling. Draw over half of the circle and seal the edges using the tines of a fork. Place on an oiled or floured tray, pierce the case with a fork to let out the steam while cooking and place in the oven at gas mark 6 for 30 minutes until golden brown.
These little bundles of orange, spicy flavour will keep you coming back for more so be prepared.