Peloponnese style Kolokithopita, with home made fillo, pumpkin, spices, sugar and rice.
To the west of the Peloponnese is the Ionian sea while to the east is the Aegean Sea. The terrain is typified of high mountains, isolated beaches and harbours. The area has many cities important to Greek history such as Mycenae, Argos, Megalopolis, Sparta, Messene, and Corinth. My favourite holidays in Greece have been when visiting this area as it is both rugged and beautiful, and steeped in history.
In Australia, I have stumbled upon many versions of what people present as Kolokithopita but it is mostly a variation to the Traditional Kolokithopita.
Looking at the picture of The traditional kolokithopita, it’s obvious it looks very very different. The variation comes as Greeks in Australia and the UK have changed the recipe to be a little similar to the English version of The Pumpkin Pie. When you compare this kolokithopita to a Pumpkin Pie it is evident they both look very different. The traditional one is a little more hands on as the Phyllo is home-made but also most importantly the pumpkin is not pre-boiled. Boiling the pumpkin in my opinion has adverse affects to the flavour. The wholesome and rich flavour is kept when the pumpkin is not preboiled.
To start, you will need to make the phyllo. The benefits of making your own phyllo and an explanation of how to do this are both explained in the post Making Phyllo and Learning How To Manipulate Dough to Thin Sheets (Overview).
1 butternut pumpkin
4 sheets home-made phyllo pastry
1/2 cup sultanas
1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts
2 tbspns cinammon
2 tbspns freshly ground cloves
1/4 cup short-grain rice
1/4 cup brown sugar
pinch of salt
olive oil for brushing phyllo pastry and to pour a little inside the mix
Tips: If you have to use store-bought phyllo (filo) I’d recommend using 6 sheets of store-bought phyllo ( filo pastry ) instead of the four. Use three sheets as the bottom layer and three sheets above. In between each sheet of the store-bought oil the sheets and then finely dust with a little flour.
Cut the pumpkin in manageable pieces, take the skin off and grate the pumpkin using the larger whole greater.
Refer to the link below on how to make home-made phyllo pastry.
Use a mortar and pestle to finely grind the whole cloves. Always finely grind your own spices.
Oil a large baking dish – ensure your phyllo covers all of the baking dish.
Place the first sheet, and oil it with a brush. Place the second sheet and oil this one with a brush as well. Let the extra phyllo hang off the sides.
Place grated pumpkin into a bowl, and add all the ingredients together pour 1/4 cup olive oil and mix well. Try the mix, the rice will still be hard but this is to ensure the spices, sugar are according to your taste.
The pumpkin should be about 3-4 cm thick in the dish. Place the 3rd phyllo sheet on top and also let it hang down the side for now.
Oil the sheet and place the last one over the top.
Fold over to the top of the dish the part of the sheets hanging down. Oil well, and with a sharp knife cut into squares or triangles.
Place in a moderate oven for 40 minutes till top is golden brown and bottom not too soggy.
Remove and serve.
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