Pumpkin Savory Mini Pies

We used to grow pumpkins in our village, those big orange giants were always the last ones to be picked up from the fields. They were the sign that the field work was over and that it was time to get ready for facing winter which is always long and boring in Ukraine. Pumpkins were sliced, seeds were gently placed on the paper, hidden on the top of the top of the stove waiting it’s time to be consumed. No one cooked anything from pumpkins, they were a part of animals’ food, at least in my family. As no one taught me anything great about this humble vegetable, my enthusiasm for incorporating it in baking hit me in Istanbul where it is much more respected. My first pumpkin loaf made me fall in love with pumpkins! Having moved to California, my food horizon got more widened, pumpkin is a big thing here, it is everywhere and it can’t be ignored. As soon the first leaves turn into all those magical colors, the shelves of the stores are seducing customers with all possible pumpkin food from pumpkin cookies to pumpkin butter. While I have been resisting all those beautiful products (too much sugar some of them contain!) pumpkin ravioli with sage and butter won my heart! Forever! Creating this pumpkin filling for my mini pies is my first step towards making ravioli one day! Meanwhile I am enjoying my pies, my hands are rolling dough for ravioli in other dimension.



2 cups all purpose flour (+ some extra for dusting)

1/2 tsp instant yeast

1/2 ts sugar

1/2 tsp salt

150ml warm milk

3  tbps vegetable oil

1 egg lightly beaten for brushing


 for the filling

250 gr sliced pumpkin           

sage, 6 leaves

a pinch of nutmeg

 a good pinch of salt and pepper

some oil for drizzling

2 tbsp of french cream (optional)

some chopped parsley



Preheat the oven to 350F/180C  degree. Slice the pumpkin into chunks and place on the baking tray. Drizzle olive oil over them, place sage, season generously with salt and pepper. Cover the tray with foil and roast it around 30 mins, until the chunks are soft.

Meanwhile the filling is getting ready, prepare the dough.

In a big bowl sieve flour and add salt.  In a smaller bowl mix warm milk with sugar and instant yeast and let the yeast get activated (leave it for 10-15 mins). Add the mixture of smaller bowl to a bigger one. Add oil and form a dough, dust the table with a bit of flour and knead it well. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl in a warm place until it doubles in size.

 Time to come back to our filling.  Blend all the ingredients in a blender. If your family members don’t like pumpkin so much adding some cream cheese can make a good trick. Check the filling if it needs extra seasoning. Add chopped parsley

Roll the dough out so that it is about 3mm thick and using glass or cutter, cut out circles. Place the filling and seal with your fingertips. Repeat until all the stuffing and dough is used up. Place the pie on the baking tray, brush with beaten egg and bake for 10- 15 mins, until golden.

Kategoriler: Hamur İşi Tarifleri Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
Autumn Taste of Ukrainian Cuisine

Having lived 21 years in my hometown left me no space and perspective for seeing Ukrainian cuisine in the big picture. I was a consumer there, some dishes were good, some of them were bad, some of them were my favorite. My grandma was the one who was cooking for all of us and I remember that there was no day that our fridge was empty. Cooking was a cult for her, and sharing food was a ritual through which her generosity was expressed the most. Whenever my friends were visiting me, the food would appear on the table and Mrs. Anna never cared if you were full, she had her own way to make you taste her dishes. And who could resist?! Who would be able to say No to homemade stew or warm bowl of soup prepared from scratch using seasonal ingredients or simply a cup of tea with a pie or cookies or her favorite brioche croissants with jam inside. She loved observing people and the way they were eating. Her philosophy “the way you eat, the way you work” could tell her more about your character than you would expect. Playing with the food or eating too slow was like a personal offence for her. She believed in people with a good appetite, she trusted them she knew that they would be able to work hard. That was her world where people ate big portions of homemade food and no one counted calories, the time where gluten was a friend and smoothies for breakfast would be considered as a frivolous behavior.

Sharing the recipe of Cabbage rolls is paying tribute to my Ukrainian roots, my attempt to understand the value of my cuisine and its uniqueness. The recipe embraces my grandma’s way of preparing them and my love for Middle Eastern spices.


For filling

 1 green cabbage

150 gr ground beef

1 cup short-grain rice

1/2 tsp cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 tbsp olive oil

several cloves of garlic, sliced

handful of chopped dill

For sauce

1 cup tomato sauce

1 cup sour cream

1 cup water

handful chopped dill


Trim off the large tough leaves of the cabbage. Make four deep cuts around the core of the cabbage in order to make the leaves easier to pull off later. Leaving the cabbage whole, put it in a deep, large pot with the core facing down and pour a full kettle of boiling water over it- the cabbage should not be fully covered in water, just about a half. Add a tablespoon of vinegar to water for preventing cabbage from getting mushy.  Put a lid and simmer over low heat until the cabbage leaves have softened (It is hard to say the exact time because it is all about the type of cabbage you are going to use. Some get soft after 15 mins and some need more time)

Meanwhile prepare the filling by putting the beef, rice, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, oil, garlic and dill. Mix well with your hands. (A useful tip: prepare the filling before making the cabbage rolls and leave it in the fridge over night, in such way the spices infuse the filling and it is full of flavor as a result)

Remove the cabbage from the water and very gently pull off each leaf, always from the base to avoid tearing.

The Size of the leaf will determine how much stuffing you put in. Be careful not to overfill. Place the leaf sideways, so the spine is horizontal to you, and put the stuffing in the middle, running along the spine like a sausage shape, but leaving room at either side of folding. Place in a deep frying pan or a Dutch oven, tightly packed. When the pan is full. Mix the ingredient for the sauce and pour over the cabbage rolls (the cabbage rolls should be completely covered with the sauce,  if you lack sauce add more water mix with sour cream and tomato sauce)

Simmer over low heat around 1 hour occasionally checking the readiness of cabbage and filling.  When the cabbage rolls are ready, don’t forget to place one generous spoon of sour cream for topping. Enjoy the flavors of autumn.

Kategoriler: Comfort Food Tags: , , , , , ,