‘HER’ MAJESTY THE PUMPKIN PASTRY

I couldn’t have introduced ‘the creme de la creme’ of the pastry world in a better way! This unique and very traditional Bulgarian recipe, locally called TIKVENIK, was adapted by us to evolve into this healthier, lower-calorie, wholesome form. Wheat flour was replaced with SPELT, for sweetness we used some coconut sugar and HONEY.

Autumn is the time of the colourful pumpkin season and when Tikvenik is baked in almost every Bulgarian family home. In the Rhodope mountains, where I am originally from, locals can’t wait to pick up their home grown pumpkins: these vegetables are not just great Halloween decorations, they have fantastic nutritious content. I always enjoy the spicy warming taste of my first slice of Tikvenik, in one of the restaurants on the slopes of the beautiful ski resort in Pamporovo.

The Pumpkin Pastry in Bulgaria or, more precisely its varieties, date back centuries ago. They originate from the traditions and culture of the Slavs, who occupied Central and Eastern Europe, including Bulgaria, from 2nd century BC to 10 century AD. It is one of the eight vegetarian dishes presented at a traditional Bulgarian Christmas Eve table. 

INGREDIENTS FOR THE DOUGH

400g white spelt flour

200ml water

1 egg

1 tbsp vinegar

2 tbsp rapeseed oil

Pinch of salt

 

INGREDIENTS FOR THE FILLING

Medium sized butternut squash

200g coconut sugar

1.5 tsp vanilla

1 tsp cinnamon 

1 tea cup of ground walnuts

 

In addition, also prepare 

200g spelt flour, using some now and then to dust lightly the work surface and also sprinkle on the dough when rolling out the pastry 

2 tbsp rapeseed oil, to oil the baking tray

1 egg and 2 tbsp milk mixed, to brush the pastry before baking

4-5 tbsp honey to drizzle over when the pastry is baked 

METHOD FILLING

  1. Prepare the filling first 
  2. Grind the butternut squash 
  3. Mix the rest of the filling ingredients with the ground pumpkin
  4. Split the filling in five parts

METHOD DOUGH

  1. Mix all of the above ingredients together to create dough
  2. Split the dough into 5 dough balls 
  3. Dust the work surface with flour
  4. Take one of the balls, dust some more flour on it, roll it out with a rolling pin to create a circle shaped pastry sheet (ensure the circle layer has a diameter of 32cm)
  5. Take one part of the filling, spread it all over the rolled pastry sheet
  6. Roll the pastry sheet in and place it in the middle of the baking tray (ensure the baking tray has been oiled).
  7. Keep sprinkling flour when rolling out the pastry
  8. Repeat the same process with the other dough balls
  9. Mix 1 egg and 2 tbsp milk and brush over the pastry, when all ready in the tray
  10. Bake in pre-heated oven at 175 C for one hour

When the pastry is baked and still warm, drizzle 4-5 tbsp of runny honey all over it!

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