Pitas (or pies) are a staple in Greek cuisine. While we remember our yiayia making spinach pita, our mom remembers her yiayia making pumpkin pita. Yiayia Pota would roll out the pita by hand, assemble the savory phyllo layers in a big round pan, and serve them as squares at many Sunday family gatherings.
Sitting around our gourd-adorned coffee table, we shared these specialties with some friends. Upon cutting through the layers of flaky buttery phyllo, we were pleasantly surprised by the warm burnt ochre-hued puree.
Each bite is a unique combination of pumpkin, feta, and spices, all wrapped in crunchy phyllo, appropriate for an autumn-themed appetizer or snack.
Savory Pumpkin and Feta Pita (Kolokithopita)
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 clove minced garlic
2 c pureed pumpkin (or squash)
1/2 c ricotta cheese
1 c crumbled feta cheese
1 T honey
1 T chopped fresh sage
1 t cinnamon
1 t nutmeg
salt and pepper throughout
1/4 c melted butter
thawed phyllo dough
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Over medium heat, sautee the onion in 1 T EVOO until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, salt and pepper, and cook for another couple of minutes. Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, mix the pumpkin, cheeses, eggs, honey, sage, cinnamon, nutmeg, sauteed onion, garlic, and salt and pepper. With a cooking brush, butter a 8x8 pan. Next, carefully place a sheet of phyllo (you may have to trim the edges to fit the pan). Brush a little butter over the entire sheet of dough and continue the layering of phyllo then brushed butter for 10 layers. Once you form a solid base, spread out the pumpkin and cheese filling. Layer 10 more sheets of dough and brushed butter on top. Score the top layer of phyllo into squares before baking to enable clean cut pieces later. Bake for 45 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Cool slightly, cut and serve.
A seasonal appetizer, we look forward to a winter-inspired pita in a few months!