Greek Pumpkin Hand Pies – Kolokithopita (Vegan, No Mixer)

These Greek pumpkin hand pies are made with fresh pumpkin and shaped into pretty spirals. They’re vegan and they don’t require a mixer! 

greek pumpkin hand pie on a plate with cinnamon sticks and a pumpkin

Pumpkin season is officially here! I absolutely love pumpkin desserts! 

This recipe has been in our family for generations and has been handed down to me from my Yiayia (Grandma). It’s a traditional Greek pumpkin pie recipe, but instead of making one large pie, I adapted it and made hand pies. If you’re a pumpkin lover, you should definitely give this recipe a try!

What is kolokithopita?

The name is a real tongue twister:  ko-lo-kee-THO-pee-ta!

The word kolokithi has different meanings in Greek. It can mean squash, zucchini (or courgette for my British friends), or pumpkin. Generally speaking, any variety of pumpkin or squash is called a kolokithi in Greece! Pita means pie and together you get kolokithopita, pumpkin pie (or kolokithopites in the plural form)!

 

Greek pumpkin hand pie on a plate with pumpkin, leaves and kitchen towel

What’s in Greek pumpkin pie?

In Greece, there are both sweet and savory versions of pumpkin pie. The savory ones often have feta cheese in them. This recipe is a sweet pumpkin pie with sugar and spices. It’s very popular this time of year in Greece. 

What kind of pumpkin is used for kolokithopita?

Most parts of Greece traditionally make it with butternut squash, but other pumpkin varieties are used, as well.

For this recipe I use a tan skinned pumpkin, which is similar to the Buckskin variety in the States. You could use any sweet pumpkin or pie pumpkin. Butternut squash would be great, too.

What do you need to make Greek pumpkin hand pies?

There are only a few ingredients in these Greek pumpkin hand pies!!!

Here’s what you need:

  • Phyllo dough – I only use 7 sheets of phyllo dough, one per pie. 
  • Pumpkin or butternut squash, grated & squeezed – It only took me about 10 minutes to grate the pumpkin & 1-2 minutes more to squeeze out the liquid!
  • Olive oil – I use olive oil to grease the baking pan and the phyllo dough sheets.
  • Sugar – I use a combination of light brown packed sugar and white granulated sugar for the filling, but you can use just granulated sugar, if you want. I also use powdered sugar for dusting before serving.
  • Spices – I use a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground cloves.

That’s it!

Why squeeze freshly grated pumpkin?

Pumpkins and squash have a high water content. In order to avoid soggy pies, traditional Greek recipes usually include one of 3 methods to remove the excess water.

One method involves adding rice, breadcrumbs, or semolina flour to the filling. This helps absorb any extra liquid from the pumpkin.

Another method is to put the shredded pumpkin in a skillet  and cook it for a few minutes. This helps evaporate the excess water.

The third method is to squeeze out the liquid by hand.

I have tried all 3 methods and I found squeezing the liquid out by hand is the best one. It’s A LOT quicker than cooking it in a skillet! Plus, I don’t need to add any rice, breadcrumbs, or flour, which could affect the texture and overall flavor of the pie!

HOW TO MAKE GREEK PUMPKIN HAND PIES 

They may look complicated, but they are really simple to make. Here’s a step-by-step tutorial:

how to peel a pumpkin, remove seeds, grate and squeeze it

greek pumpkin pie filling and assembly

how to coil greek pumpkin hand pies

Can I make one large pie instead of hand pies?

Sure! Just double my recipe first and bake it in a bigger pan. The only thing you need to be careful of is the phyllo dough.

There are two ways to use the phyllo dough for a large pie:

  1. Put half of the phyllo dough sheets on the bottom, then add the filling, and then top with the remaining dough sheets. Just remember to drizzle each sheet with oil before adding the next one. 
  2. Place all the phyllo dough sheets in a pan, one at a time, drizzling each with oil, until they finish and then add the filling. After that, just fold all the overhanging sheets of dough on top! Then brush the pie with oil and cut it into pieces (but not all the way through) before baking.

VARIATIONS & ADD-INS

  • You could add chopped walnuts, sesame seeds, and/or raisins in the filling.
  • Soaking the raisins in some cognac or brandy adds additional flavor. Just make sure to drain them before adding them to the filling.
  • After it’s cooled, I like to dust it with powdered sugar and sprinkle it with some cinnamon before serving.

TIPS FOR SUCCESS 

  • Use a clean kitchen towel to squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Any excess water can make the hand pies soggy.
  • When you add the sugar and spices to the shredded pumpkin, you’ll notice some liquid remains in the bottom of the bowl. Discard this liquid or put the filling in a a fine mesh strainer before making the hand pies.
  • Make sure the phyllo dough sheets are covered with a damp towel so that they don’t dry out while you’re making the hand pies. Try and work as quickly as you can because the phyllo dough can dry out fast!
  • Don’t coil the pies too tightly, otherwise the centers won’t bake evenly.
  • Whenever I bake with phyllo dough, I don’t usually line my pan with parchment paper; I just oil it with olive oil. If you want to make cleanup easier, though, you could line your pan with parchment paper before baking.
  • The baking time will depend on how much moisture is in your pumpkin. It usually takes around 50 minutes, but it could take up to an hour and ten minutes. Keep an eye on it after 45 minutes.

~Voula

greek pumpkin hand pies, one on a plate and one in a hand with pumpkin and leaves

Let me know how these Greek Pumpkin Hand Pies turn out for you in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you!

Greek Pumpkin Hand Pies - Kolokithopita (Vegan, No Mixer)

These Greek pumpkin hand pies are made with fresh pumpkin and shaped into pretty spirals. They're vegan and they don’t require a mixer! 
Prep Time12 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 12 mins
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: Greek
Keyword: greek, pumpkin, pie, vegan, no mixer, sweet
Servings: 7

Ingredients

  • 3 ½ cups (14 oz / 400 g) freshly grated pumpkin, squeezed to remove excess water (see picture tutorials in the post to see how to do it)
  • 7 phyllo dough sheets (about 8 oz / 225 g)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
  • powdered sugar and ground cinnamon for dusting (optional)

Instructions

  • Generously grease a pan with olive oil. Alternatively, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly grease it with olive oil. Set aside.
  • Preheat the oven to 180 °C / 350 °F.
  • Put the shredded pumpkin in a bowl.
  • Add the sugar and the spices and mix with a spoon until everything is combined. Discard any liquid that remains in the bowl or put the filling in a a fine mesh strainer.
  • Place a sheet of phyllo dough on a work surface (the long edge facing you) and drizzle with some olive oil. Cover the other sheets with a damp towel so that they don’t dry out.
  • Spread 2 tablespoons of the pumpkin filling lengthwise, starting about 2 inches (5 cm) from the bottom and the sides.
  • Fold the left and right edge of the phyllo dough over the filling.
  • Fold over the bottom part of the phyllo dough and roll into a log, starting from the bottom.
  • Starting at one end, loosely roll the log into a spiral.
  • Place the hand pie in the baking pan and brush with olive oil.
  • Repeat with the remaining 6 sheets and filling.
  • Bake for 50-60 minutes.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  • Use a clean kitchen towel to squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Any excess water can make the hand pies soggy.
  • Try and work as quickly as you can because the phyllo dough can dry out fast!
  • Don’t coil the pies too tightly, otherwise the centers won’t bake evenly.
  • Whenever I bake with phyllo dough, I don’t usually line my pan with parchment paper; I just oil it with olive oil. If you want to make cleanup easier, though, you could line your pan with parchment paper before baking.
  • The baking time will depend on how much moisture is in your pumpkin. It usually takes around 50 minutes, but it could take up to an hour and ten minutes. Keep an eye on it after 45 minutes.
© Pastry Wishes
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Easy Apple Rose Tart with Dulce de Leche

 This stunning dessert is delicious, yet surprisingly easy to make! Wow your guests with this heavenly apple rose tart with dulce de leche!

apple rose tart with dulce de leche kitchen towel and spatula

I always get so many oohs and ahhs when I make this dessert! 

For some reason, people think it’s complicated because of its pretty design.

Believe me, though, it isn’t!

This tart is similar to the classic French apple tart, but instead of the apple compote on the bottom, I added dulce de leche, instead. The result? AMAZING! Apples are absolutely perfect with dulce de leche!

Why I love this dessert (and I think you will too!):

  • You’ll save time by using ready-made dulce de leche instead of making it, which can take several hours.
  • You don’t need to soften the apple slices first in order to arrange them.
  • You don’t need to pre-bake (or blind bake) the crust.
  • It’s lightly spiced and not overly sweet.

You will need:

  • Tart crust: I make my own pâte sucrée, which is a classic French sweet pastry crust that’s traditionally used for tarts. It’s basically a sweet shortcrust pastry. If, however, you’re pressed for time, you could just buy a ready made tart shell.
  • Dulce de Leche: Dulce de leche is similar to caramel. It’s a beautiful creamy sauce that you can drizzle over cheesecake, ice cream, brownies, or whatever you like, really. It’s slowly cooked over a long period of time. To make things easier and save time, I just use a can of ready-made dulce de leche.
  • Apples: I use Gala apples because they’re mildly sweet and I love the color in the tart (that’s why I don’t peel them), but you could use your favorite variety, instead.

HOW TO MAKE THE SWEET PASTRY CRUST

 

how to make french pastry crust steps 1-4

how to make french pastry crust steps 5-8

MAKE-AHEAD TIP

The tart dough can be frozen for later use. I wrap it in plastic wrap and then place it in 1 or 2 freezer bags to prevent any odors from being absorbed. It can be frozen for up to a month. To thaw, just put it in the refrigerator the night before you want to use it.

HOW TO SLICE THE APPLES FOR THE ROSE DESIGN

Slicing the apples is really simple. After you wash them, here’s what to do:

how to slice apples for apple rose tart 3 steps

I like to keep all the slices in a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap so that they don’t brown until I’m ready to use them.

Since the apple slices will be placed vertically in the tart, you can slice the bottoms of the bigger ones so that they’re all the same height. You could do this by stacking a few slices on top of each other and then cutting off a bit of the bottom part that will be placed in the tart.

HOW TO MAKE THIS EASY APPLE ROSE TART WITH DULCE DE LECHE

how to make apple rose tart with dulce de leche 4 steps

 

apple rose tart with kitchen towel, spatula, two apples and three cinnamon sticks

TIPS FOR SUCCESS

  • I suggest using a mandoline to thinly slice the apples. It just makes everything easier and allows for even baking because all the slices are the same size. If you don’t have a mandoline, you can slice them with a sharp paring knife – they need to be about ⅛  inch (3 mm) thick.
  • Before spreading the dulce de leche on the crust, stir it a few times in a bowl to make it a bit creamier and easier to spread.
  • Keep the butter cubes in the freezer while preparing the other ingredients for the crust. It will stay nice and cold and make it easier to pulse.
  • A removable bottom tart pan will make it really easy to slip off the outer ring without ruining the beautiful, fluted crust. For this recipe, I used a nonstick 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. 
  • Wait at least 1 ½ hours for the tart to cool down before cutting, otherwise it will fall apart.
  • You don’t have to keep the skins on the apples like I did, but if you do, use a serrated knife to slice the tart so that the spiral design remains intact.

SERVING IDEAS

  • I think this tart is best served warm or at room temperature. 
  • A simple, but pretty topping would be dusting the tart with powdered sugar. 
  • It’s also delicious served with vanilla ice cream or freshly whipped cream.
  • If you want, you could reserve a few tablespoons of the dulce de leche and drizzle it on top before serving.

two apple rose tart slices with two cinnaom sticks, an apple and a kitchen towel

Enjoy!

~Voula

MORE PIE AND DULCE DE LECHE RECIPES!

Easy Blueberry Pie (With Lattice & Crimp Tutorial)

No-bake Banoffee Pie Cups

Let me know how this Easy Apple Rose Tart with Dulce de Leche turns out for you in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you!

Easy Apple Rose Tart with Dulce de Leche

This stunning dessert is delicious, yet surprisingly easy to make! Wow your guests with this heavenly apple rose tart with dulce de leche!
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time1 hr 5 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: easy, apple, rose, tart, dulce de leche
Servings: 8 -10

Equipment

  • one 11-inch (28 cm) or 9-inch (23 cm) tart pan with a removable bottom

Ingredients

For the pâte sucrée

  • 2 cups (8.8 oz / 250 g) all-purpose flour
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 stick + 1 tablespoon (125 g) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 4 tablespoons (1.8 fl oz / 50 ml) ice water

For the filling & topping

  • 1 can ready-made dulce de leche (13.4 oz / 380 g)
  • 4 - 5 Gala apples, cored and cut into ⅛ inch / 3 mm thick slices
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions

Make the pâte sucrée

  • In a food processor, pulse together the flour, salt and sugar until combined.
  • Add the cubed butter, a few at a time (I do it in 3 batches), and pulse until the dough looks like coarse crumbs.
  • In a small bowl, mix the egg yolk together with the ice water and slowly add it to the flour mixture. Pulse until the dough comes together.
  • Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll into a ball. Then shape it into a flat disk. Wrap the disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Prepare the filling & topping

  • In a small bowl, stir the dulce de leche a few times to make it creamier and easier to spread. Set aside.
  • Cut the cored apples in half. Place the cut side down and thinly slice them (about ⅛ inch / 3 mm thick). Place them in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap to prevent browning. Set aside 3-4 really thin slices in another bowl with a few drops of water.
  • Preheat oven to 392 °F / 200 °C.
  • Roll out the dough and fit into the tart pan.
  • Spread the dulce de leche on the bottom of the crust.
  • Starting from the edge of the tart, place overlapping apple slices vertically, cut side down. Each slice should overlap the previous one halfway.
  • Continue arranging the apple slices tightly into a spiral until you reach the center of the tart.
  • Roll the 3-4 very thin apple slices together into a spiral shape. Place it in the center of the tart.
  • Sprinkle the entire tart with cinnamon.
  • Bake for 35 minutes or until it's golden brown.
  • Allow it to cool for at least 1 ½ hours before slicing.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

Cover any leftovers with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
MAKE-AHEAD TIP
The tart dough can be frozen for later use. I wrap it in plastic wrap and then place it in 1 or 2 freezer bags to prevent any odors from being absorbed. It can be frozen for up to a month. To thaw, just put it in the refrigerator the night before you want to use it.
Pâte sucrée from https://thefrenchcookingacademy.wordpress.com/2018/05/23/french-style-lemon-tart/
© Pastry Wishes
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Easy Blueberry Pie (With Lattice & Crimp Tutorial)

This homemade blueberry pie is loaded with juicy blueberries and baked inside a flaky, buttery crust! A delicious summer dessert that’ll wow your guests!

blueberry pie

Blueberry season is here! Take advantage of  it by making this amazing pie!  If fresh blueberries are unavailable, you can use frozen blueberries, instead! This recipe is simple and remarkably delicious!

What you’ll need to make Blueberry Pie.

Blueberries: Fresh or frozen.

Spices: I use cinnamon.

Lemon: I use some juice & zest.

Sugar: I use both white & brown sugar.

Butter: I use unsalted butter.

Flour: I use all-purpose flour.

Salt: I use a bit for the crust.

Cornstarch: I use some for the filling.

Egg & milk: I use these to make an egg wash to brush the pie before baking.

HOW TO MAKE BLUEBERRY PIE

The first thing to do is to make the filling. Then you make the pie crust.  I find it easier to use a food processor. If you don’t have a food processor, you can make it by hand using a pastry blender. If you don’t have a pastry blender, you’ll need 2 knives or forks to cut the butter in the flour. This recipe is for 2 pie crusts (one for the bottom & one for the top).

After that, line your pie plate with the dough and crimp it.

How do you crimp a single pie crust?

Crimping the pie crust isn’t really necessary, but it really makes the pie look pretty. Here’s a photo tutorial on how to do it:

 

pie crimp

Then fill the pie crust with the filling and top it with a lattice crust.

How do you make a lattice pie crust?

For the photo tutorial, I used 4 strips, but you could use 5 or more, depending on how wide you make your strips.

Here’s how to make a lattice crust:

how to make a lattice crust

TOP TIP

  • If you tear any of the strips while making the lattice crust, just use a cookie cutter to make different shapes with the excess dough and place them on the pie. No one will ever know!
  • I like rolling out the dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper. That way I don’t have to flour my surface and it just makes cleanup a lot easier.
  • Making the pie crust may not be super quick, but it is SOOO worth it! Trust me, you won’t regret it! Nothing beats homemade pie crust!
  • Place the pie on a baking sheet in case it spills over while baking. I like using a pizza pan for this.

blueberry pie

VARIATIONS

This pie is also amazing with a cinnamon crust!

Just add 1/2 a tablespoon of ground cinnamon + 1/2 a teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg, and a pinch of ground cloves to the flour before making the pie crust.

blueberry pie

TIPS FOR SUCCESS

  • You need to give the pie some time to set before cutting it. I usually cut it the next day. However, if you don’t want to wait that long, wait at least 2-3 hours before serving, otherwise it will fall apart.
  • If the berries are too tart, add a little more sugar to the filling.
  • When using frozen berries, I like to thaw and drain them before making the filling. If you like a juicier pie, you can omit this step. Personally, I like perky pies, not runny ones!

Let me know how this Easy Blueberry pie turns out for you in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you!

 ~ Voula

Easy Blueberry Pie (With Lattice & Crimp Tutorial)

This homemade blueberry pie is loaded with juicy blueberries and baked inside a flaky, buttery crust! A delicious summer dessert that'll wow your guests!
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: blueberry, homemade pie crust, pie, summer,
Servings: 1 9-inch pie

Ingredients

For the homemade pie crust

  • 2 ½ cups (315 g) all purpose flour
  • 1 cup (227 g) unsalted butter, cubed
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 6-8 tablespoons cold milk

For the filling

  • 4 ½ cups (615 g) blueberries
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch

For the topping

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 - 2 teaspoons light brown sugar

Instructions

Make the pie crust

  • Add the flour, salt and butter to a food processor. Pulse about 10-12 times, or until the butter is the size of peas.*
  • Add 3 tablespoons of the milk and pulse a few times until a dough forms, adding more milk if necessary. Do not overmix.
  • Divide the dough in two and wrap in plastic wrap. Gently flatten into 2 disks. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  • Roll out the dough to fit a 9-inch pie plate. I like putting the disk between 2 sheets of parchment paper to do this.
  • Put an inverted pie plate over the rolled out dough and cut about 2 inches (5 cm) around it.
  • Flip the pie plate over and fold any excess dough back to create a "wall".
  • Crimp the dough all around the pie plate by pressing your knuckle from one hand while pinching over it with your thumb and forefinger of your other hand.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 ° F / 190°C.

Make the filling

  • In a large bowl, gently toss the blueberries with the sugar, salt, cinnamon and cornstarch. Drain any excess liquid and add the filling to the bottom crust.

Make the lattice crust (see the photo tutorial in the post)

  • Roll out the remaining dough and cut it into even strips.
  • Top the filling with 4 strips, vertically.
  • Lift strip #1 and #3 and place another strip, horizontally. Cover the horizontal strip with vertical strip #1 and #3.
  • Repeat with vertical strips #2 and #4.
  • Cut off excess dough and fix the edges. Make different shapes out of the excess dough, if desired, and top the pie.

Make the egg wash

  • Add the milk to the beaten egg and brush the pie with it. Then sprinkle with the brown sugar.
  • Place the pie on a baking sheet or pizza pan and bake for about an hour. You'll know it's done when the filling bubbles.
  • Allow the pie to cool for at least 2 hours before serving.
  • Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 5-6 days.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

If you don't have a food processor to make the pie crust, you can use a pastry blender or 2 knives or forks to cut the butter into the flour and continue with the remaining steps.

 

 

 

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