Kolokotes, is a traditional Cypriot recipe of Pumpkin pies. This recipe belongs to my grandma and I could have never, ever anticipated that being around her in my childhood, I would eventually “inherited” a legacy so rich, as her original food recipes and the love I have for food!
Tradition in every form and especially tradition in cooking, goes from generation to generation in Cyprus and more widely in the Mediterranean and is big part of our culture, a culture so rich in food and hospitality. Cooking is what identify us and goes back from our early years of existence and creation. In an island that geographically sits among three continents, Asia, Africa and Europe you can imagine what sort of influences and trends we got over the years to successfully create the so called ” Cypriot Kitchen”.
This recipe was at the back of my mind days ago, due to the Halloween month posts and today was finally the day to implement it. I knew I wanted to share with you a traditional Cyprus recipe that would had included everything I wanted in a post; October stories, food styling, taste, history, colour, tradition and love. The preparation started a few days ago, first by visualising the food styling and then by slowly-slowly gathering and creating – once more – the necessary ingredients, props and backdrops for the photoshoot. Among the necessary, was my amazing basket and the creation of that incredible grey backdrop, an old Cypriot door, found by a friend and painted by me.
So when the day came to create my Kolokotes recipe, all what I was thinking while making the pies, was her. My grandma. A possibly Norwegian origin classy lady, not very tall with a fair, flawless complexion and bright green eyes, that all she knew in her entire life was to love and cherish 3 things; God, her sons and food!!! In Cyprus generations before us, cooking was a ritual. Kolokotes, or any other pies and traditional food was not only made just to eat them and satisfy the need of survivor but to live a certain lifestyle that only Cypriots knew how.
The ritual was an early thing, maybe a night before thing, were the preparation was done, either by lighting up the wood ovens in the backyard or by preparing the recipes that needed to be prepared from before. And then by dawn the warm wood ovens at the back yard, were ready to welcome the food and cook it, with that unique smell of the already burned olive woods.
And then was the coffee. The gathering. And the gossips.
The coffee was heavy Cypriot, or Turkish or Greek. It is all the same coffee but with a different name. The Harman – that strong smell and taste – was what kept them going for hours, preparing, cooking and gossiping.
Then was the gathering. The gathering was anything from relatives to neighbours, dressed in long dresses with headscarves, gathered around the bowls on the table that were full of tastes, colours and aromas in order to prepare the food.
And last along this cooking ritual was the gossiping. And matchmaking. The gossiping was so irritating for us the young children, but not as irritating as the phrase; “Athena bring the salt and come here to learn how to cook!!!”
As you probably understood by now, kolokotes are nothing but simple Cypriot traditional pies, made with pumpkin or squash using only a few ingredients, like cinnamon, bulgur wheat, raisins and pure olive oil. Ah… And lots of love!
I really hope that you will get inspired by my post and you will give this Kolokotes – traditional Cypriot recipe by my grandma, a go! And if you do and you liked it – or not – I will anxiously wait for your comments.
- 1 ½ cups (real tea cup) of plain flour
- 1 ½ cups (real tea cup) of strong flour
- 1 cup (espresso size) pure Greek olive oil
- Luke warm drinking water – as long as it takes
- 800g of finely chopped pumpkin or squash
- 175g of organic black raisins
- 150g of organic bulgur wheat
- 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon of ground gloves (optional)
- 1 small cup (espresso size) or 90ml of pure Greek olive oil
- 4 teaspoons of granulated sugar
- Cut the pumpkin into tiny cubes and place them in a big bowl.
- Add the sugar and stir to spread evenly. This will cause the pumpkin to shrink and drain.
- Do not dispose the pumpkin juices as you need them to soften the bulgur wheat.
- Add the bulgur and leave to rest for two hours – or overnight if possible.
- In the meantime, make the dough by sieving the flour and adding the oil. Use your clean hands to rub the mixture until it resembles to tiny breadcrumbs.
- Add the lukewarm water and ferment into a ball.
- Cover the bowl and keep warm with a blanket. Keep aside for a couple of hours to risen.
- Once the pumpkin mixture and dough are ready, preheat oven at 180ºC/350ºF/Gas Mark 4.
- Add the rest of the ingredients into the pumpkin/bulgur mixture and stir to get an even mixture. Keep aside.
- Roll the dough into a long piece and then cut into small pieces (About 18)
- Shape the pieces into balls and use the plaster to reshape them into pies of about 8cm in diameter. We don’t want a thin pie.
- Fill each pie with a full teaspoon of pumpkin mixture in the centre of the pie. Using egg wash, rub the edges and then fold the pie and stick. Fold the edges and use a knife or fork to shape it.
- Place the pies into a baking tray and cook for 20 – 25 minutes until crisp and golden brown.
“And then was the coffee. The gathering. And the gossips.
The coffee was heavy Cypriot, or Turkish or Greek. It is all the same coffee but with a different name. The Harman – that strong smell and taste – was what kept them going for hours, preparing, cooking and gossiping.”