Friday, October 06, 2023


When I think of sweet pies, this is the type that comes to my mind immediately. Layers upon layers of thin filo sheets, and an abundance of sweet pumpkin filling.
And if you notice, this is how I like to make my hand pies; I leave the top part generously filled, while the bottom I allow to get absolutely crispy and crunchy, for a wonderful textural contrast. That is why I usually do not glaze them in any way, because they are perfectly sweet, soft, and crispy all on their own.
Now, when it comes to the star of the show, the pumpkin, it is important to cook it until most of the liquid evaporates. That way, the filo sheets will not get soggy. The cooking time can vary depending on whether the pumpkin was freshly grated or defrosted.
On a final note, if you like, feel free to add a tiny bit of ground cloves; I find they pair wonderfully with rum and raisins. And also, feel free to increase the amount of rum, if you prefer.

For the filling
500 grams grated butternut squash
80 grams granulated sugar
100 grams raisins
80 grams dandelion honey
100 grams toasted walnuts, ground
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
ground cinnamon to taste
For assembling
16 filo sheets, about 500 grams
75 millilitres vegetable oil
200 millilitres water
½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Start by counting the filo sheets, making sure there is a even number of them. Keep them covered so they do not dry out. Next, make the pumpkin filling. Place the grated pumpkin, cinnamon to taste, and the sugar into a wide pan, and place it over medium heat. Let it cook, undisturbed, until it starts to bubble. In a separate bowl, soak the raisins in hot water until they become soft. If preferred, a bit of rum can be added to the soaking water, to enhance the flavour.
Once the pumpkin starts to bubble, keep stirring until all the liquid evaporates. This may take a bit of time depending on the pumpkin and whether it was fresh or defrosted. As soon as it is ready, remove from the heat, and add in the vanilla, dandelion honey, ground walnuts, and strained raisins. Mix very well, taste the filling, and adjust the amount of cinnamon and the level of sweetness to your preferences. Set it aside to cool down slightly.
To make the glaze, pour the water and the oil into a small saucepan, and place it over high heat. Let the mixture come to a boil, then remove it from the heat and add in the vanilla. Blend well and set aside, so it cools down just a tad.
Lay one filo sheet flat on the work surface, brush it generously with the oil and water mixture, lay another sheet on top, and then place a portion of the filling right in the centre. Fold the sheet into a nice, tight parcel. Continue making the pies until all of the filling and the filo are used up, and arrange them on a large baking sheet, lined with baking parchment.
Brush each one with the remaining mixture of water and oil, and bake immediately in a preheated oven, at 200˚C, for about 20-25 minutes. Once baked, remove them from the oven, let them cool down on the baking sheet for about 20 minutes, and serve with freshly brewed coffee. Yields 8 servings.