Is anyone else ready for cold weather, clouds, rain and the onset of winter? Or is it just me. I love the fact that Cyprus is sunny and warm virtually all year around, but come mid-November I am about ready for some cold weather. I think this is being reflected in my cooking. Despite there still being sunshine outside, I find myself drawn to soups, pies, and even my photography is beginning to reflect this desire for more dark and moody weather. This week has also been incredibly busy with olive picking, baking, cooking, entertaining, and a few hospital visits – not for me but for someone I am close to.
With all of that going on, I just craved some warm comfort food. So I decided to make a pie of some sort. I follow a lot of other food bloggers on “instagram” (you can also find Afrodite’s Kitchen on instagram here which gives you a behind the scenes look in our kitchen and food-related wanderings around Cyprus) and have noticed that in the run up to American thanksgiving everyone has been posting pictures of their incredible pumpkin pies. This made me think of the Cypriot version – butternut squash pies aka “kolokotes”. They are both savoury and sweet at the same time I find. I experimented with two recipes…well actually three.
Two different types of fillings, and I decided to put some filling in a savoury pie crust (the kind you would make for a chicken pot pie) just to see. That’s why in the pictures, there are small little pies! In the end: call me a purist, but I preferred the traditional simple dough. The fillings however were both delicious. I took these around to my family’s house for a test drive and they were enjoyed. So that’s a good sign. Even my “I-don’t-like-kolokotes” boyfriend enjoyed the savoury version, so that’s also a good sign. Below, I have included both the sweet and savoury versions with a traditional dough. OK that’s about it from me for today – gotta walk the dog and run to the hospital! Let me know how they turn out and if you have any questions. Happy Cyprus Cooking…
for the filling:
3 cups diced butternut squash (about 5mm cubes)
3 tbs uncooked bulgur wheat (bougouri)
3 tbs olive oil
2 tbs sugar
1 cup sultana raisons
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp ground cloves
for savoury add to the filling:
1/2 finely chopped small onion
3 tbs finely chopped fennel
for sweet add to the filling:
1 tbs ground ginger
1 tbs ground nutmeg
for the dough:
4 cups flour (all purpose (00)
1 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup warm water
1 egg and 1 tbs water mixed together for egg wash
1. The night before, prepare your sweet or savoury filling. Add ingredients together in a bowl and place in the fridge overnight, or (if you don’t want to wait) for at least 2 hours so that the bulgur wheat absorbs the liquid.
2. Preheat oven to 190C and prepare baking sheets with baking paper.
3. Prepare the dough. Mix the flour with olive oil with your fingers so that the flour absorbs the olive oil. Add the lemon juice, salt, warm water and mix together. Add more flour and/or warm water so that you can form a dough ball. Form a ball, cover with plastic wrap and a towel and let it rest for 30 minutes.
4. Roll the dough out thinly with a rolling pin on a lightly floured circle. The dough may be a bit hard, but you will eventually succeed in rolling it out – persist! With a side plate, cut out circles like in the picture above. Place about 2 tbs of filling per circle (or a bit more so long as you can close the circle). Brush egg wash on the end of half of the inside circle. Close the circle together to form a half moon shape (as in the picture above), pressing the edges tightly together. (Ensure you do this properly or the pies will break open in the oven). Let pies rest for about 15 minutes before placing into the oven.
5. Brush the top of each pie with egg wash and with a knife, poke a little hole on top of each kolokote before placing into the oven. Sprinkle some salt & pepper or sugar on top of each pie – depending on whether you make the savoury or sweet recipe.
6. Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes. Keep an eye on the pies and take them out when the tops are a golden brown, before they begin to burn.