Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Kolokithopita- Savory Greek Pumpkin Pie

At our last girls' night in, we decided on a Greek Theme for dinner.  I've made plenty of Souvlaki's, hummus and pitas, kabobs, and all your traditional fare in the past.  So tonight I thought I would try something a little different.  Being that it is fall and I love all things pumpkin this recipe really stood out to me.  It is a pie, like the famous Spanakopita; a spinach and cheese pie layered between flaky phyllo pastry.  Only instead of spinach it uses the festive pumpkin!  It is called a "pumpkin pie", but it tastes nothing like the American counterpart.  It has a slight sweetness thanks to the pumpkin, but otherwise it is a very savory dish with the salty feta and ricotta cheeses, sautéed onion, and rice.  It was a lovely recipe and I am so glad I gave it a whirl!  You should too.

Kolokithopita- Savory Greek Pumpkin Pie
adapted slightly from Healthy Greek Recipes

1 medium to small pumpkin OR one can of pumpkin
1 large onion, chopped
1 and ½ cups milk (I prefer evaporated because is creamier)
1 cup short grain rice
2 whole eggs (substitute is ok too)
2 cups different cheeses (you can use feta, which is typical, but any other cheese will do it as long as it is a salty one.  I used one cup of feta and one cup of ricotta)
pepper to taste
1 tsp cinnamon
Either ½ box of Phyllo (pictured) or 1 whole box puff pastry

If using a whole pumpkin, cut in half, clean out the seeds and grate the pumpkin into a bowl.  Set aside. 

In large skillet sauté the onion until it begins to caramelize and turn brown. Add the pumpkin stirring occasionally over medium heat for about 20-30 minutes until it looks like paste. Add the milk and rice and stir for about ten more minutes. Add the eggs, cheeses cinnamon and pepper and mix throughly. Taste and adjust seasoning according to your liking.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

If using puff pastry:
Brush olive oil at the bottom of a pan and roll out the first sheet of pastry on the bottom.  Spread the pumpkin and cheese mixture on top and layer with the second sheet of pastry. Brush the top with a little olive oil and put it in the oven. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the pastry becomes light gold. Allow to cool before you cut in squares.

If using phyllo dough:
Brush the pan with melted butter. Carefully layer the thin sheets of phyllo one on top of the other, brushing each sheet with the melted butter or olive oil before adding a new sheet of phyllo.  You want about half of the stack of phyllo layered on the bottom of the pan.  Spread the pumpkin and cheese mixture on top and repeat layering and buttering of the remaining sheets of phyllo dough until gone.  With a sharp knife carefully score the top few sheets of phyllo dough into squares where you will want to cut them apart.  This will keep the phyllo from shattering when you cut it after baking.  Bake for about 45 minutes to an hour or until the phyllo sheets are crisp and golden brown.

I linked up my recipe on Mom's Crazy Cooking!


  1. This is great that I just found this now. Yesterday, I wrote the festival post about a Greek Oktoberfest in Massillon ( http://ohiofestivals.net/?p=1276 ) and I was joking about them possibly having pumpkin baklava, etc.
    Of course, it turned out to be a traditional Greek festival but imagine if they came across your recipe beforehand. It could have definitely changed the festival all around!
    Sounds great, by the way!

  2. Oh my gosh! I absolutely MUST try this! So you normally use the phyllo or puff pastry?

  3. Hi Crystal! This was my very first time making this recipe and i used phyllo. We all love, loved the crispness from the phyllo next to the creaminess of the pumpkin. So if i was going out to buy ingredients to make this again I would probably get phyllo since we had such nice results. but if I had the puff pastry on hand i would totally give it a try! Let me know if you use the puff pastry and how you enjoyed it!

    This is a traditional Greek recipe Kristian, as far as I know. But thank you!!! I hope you give it a whirl. Let me know what you think.

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