A pumpkin pie that’s as good as baklava: pumpkin baklava.
There is this small suburb in Athens that you pass on the way from or to the airport, Vari and this time of the year the celebrate the presentation of Mary, with quite an extraordinary pie, a sweet pumpkin pie which is very similar to baklava!
My family moved in the area when I was about 10 years young. The classic move of decentralization from the city to the suburbs, as the schools are better, the people are nice and we are oh, so close to the sea! We’ve been spending many summers in Varkiza, infinite number of leisurely days on the beach. But when the actual move came, I cannot say it got me excited. Everything was different, everyone a stranger and we obviously spent much less time on the beach come winter. I wasn’t adjusting that well.
And then one day, a neighbour came by and brought a plate, packed with something very tightly concealed in foil. The usual way goodies change hands, on a plate, tightly packed which then returns to the owners hands full to the brim with a different treat. Getting me interested wasn’t very hard, it actually smelled of Christmas.
It was a pumpkin pie but nothing like I had every tried before. A pie with a light syrup and wonderful, mousse like filling with a bit of crunch in it. This recipe is from Eleni, the mother of my very dear friend Dimitra. Moving in the area wasn’t too bad after all. I must have been in good company. ?
Pumpkin baklava, traditional sweet pumpkin pie
- 600 gr (4-6 cups) pumpkin grated and mashed
- 300 gr (2 cups) walnuts, crushed
- 100 ml (1 cup) olive oil
- 80 ml (1/2 cup) honey
- 80 gr (1/2 cup) breadcrumbs
- 2 tbsp cinnamon
- 1 pack of filo pastry
- For the syrup
- 100 sugar
- 100 honey
- 200 water
- peel of an orange
- Grate the pumpkin and allow to rest in the fridge overnight
- The next day, use half the olive oil and pour in your pan. Follow with the grated, strained pumpkin and sauté for 5-8 minutes.
- Remove from the hob and transfer in a bowl. Pour the honey, breadcrumbs, crushed walnuts and cinnamon.
- Then get ready to layer it in the baking tray. Oil the bottom of your tray and layer a couple of filo sheets at the bottom. You can pour the all the mixture as it is or layer it in between each filo sheet.
- Cut in diamonds and bake for 45 minutes.
- For the syrup, place in small pot all the ingredients and boil for 7-8 minutes.
- Once the pumpkin pie is out of the oven, let cool a bit and pour the syrup.
What better way to celebrate the harvest, pumpkins in abundance and fresh walnuts just make their way on the market.
I hope you get a chance to make it soon and enjoy in very good company.
From London with love,