Well, it’s that time of the year: Fall! I love this season Halloween, Thanksgiving, leaves falling from the trees, pumpkins, candy. Here in Greece though it is still somewhat warm, but you will see leaves falling from trees as well as olives falling from the olive trees. Halloween is not exactly celebrated here, although in recent years several stores are selling halloween decorations and some expat groups organize “trunk or treat”, so that the kids can still go trick or treating. Even the local Starbucks here have been starting to serve pumpkin spice latte. Speaking of pumpkin, I do have a weakness for pumpkin pies, and here in Greece we have our own version which is a vegan pumpkin pie made with phyllo.
Pumpkins do have a place in Greek cuisine but mainly in the form of pies: savory and sweet. The savory pumpkin pie is yummy and includes feta cheese, while the sweet pumpkin pie (glikia kolokithopita) is traditionally combined with raisins and walnuts and is vegan since it was consumed often during fasting periods here in Greece. This version here also includes walnuts, olive oil, brown sugar (instead of just white sugar) and a just a touch ginger. No milk, no eggs and no butter.
The crispy phyllo is perfect with the soft sweet filling, making it a fairly light dessert getting the most nutrition from the pumpkin (vitamin A, beta-carotene) without all that saturated fat. It can be served warm (you can reheat it in the oven before serving to get the phyllo crispy) or at room temperature.
Sweet Greek Pumpkin Pie
- 2 cups plain pumpkin puree
- 2 teaspoons olive oil plus more for brushing phyllo
- ½ cup white sugar
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ cup finely ground walnuts
- 12 phyllo sheets
- Powdered sugar for dusting
- Preheat oven at 350 Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius)
- In a bowl mix all the ingredients except the phyllo and powdered sugar.
- On a large surface (like a table). Place one phyllo sheet and brush with olive oil, place a second phyllo on top and brush again with olive oil.
- Place filling carefully with a spoon on the edge of the short side of the phyllo and roll carefully into a log. You will put about 4 tablespoons of the pumpkin mixture in each log.
- Brush the top and bottom of log with olive oil and place with bottom down in a pan. Make slits on top about 2 ½ inches apart (that is where you will slice them once baked). You can also wind the logs into a shell shape all around a large pan or individual rolls.
- Repeat with the rest of the phyllo sheets and you should have 6 logs.
- Bake in the lower part of the oven for about 30 minutes until phyllo is golden.
- Remove from oven, let them cool for about 10 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.