In Greek cuisine pumpkin is mostly used in savory or sweet pies (kolokythopita), but there is also a preserve - a ‘’spoon sweet ‘’ - as we call it, made with pumpkin and honey that in Rhodes island is called ‘’retseli’’.
In the countryside almost every house has pumpkins even if only as a decorative plant on fences. Neighbors are competing to show who has the biggest pumpkin every year or who has the greatest production.
Sweet pumpkin pie is made with the addition of raisins, walnuts, cinnamon, and, of course, sugar, and it is dusted with icing sugar after baking. This pie resembles apple pie and is served as a dessert.
In the Peloponnesus we make a savory pie with feta cheese and this is one of our favorite winter dishes. You will notice that we use dried pasta in this pie, giving the pie extra taste This way the pumpkin juices are absorbed instead of merely being discarded. We use chylopites which are small squares of pasta. You can use any kind of dried pasta but flat shaped pasta works and looks better. In northern Greece people prefer to use rice instead of pasta in this pie.
For a 25×35 cm baking pan
500gr pumpkin, peeled, seeded, and grated
200gr feta cheese
50gr olive oil
100gr dried pasta
3 eggs beaten (save 2 Tsp for brushing)
salt and pepper to taste
500gr of store bought phyllo or puff pastry dough
1-2 Tsp sesame
Heat the oven to 200˚C. Combine all the ingredients of the filling in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Use half of the phyllo dough to line the bottom and sides of the pan, brushing each layer with olive oil. Pour the mixture of the filling evenly over the dough. Place the remaining phyllo sheets over the baking dish, brushing each with olive oil before adding the next and trim the edges. Brush the top of the pie with olive oil and the 2 Tsp of egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake until the phyllo is golden brown and crisp, about 45 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes. Cut into 5cm squares before serving.