Tikvenik 
(Pumpkin-filled Fillo Pastry)

| November 25, 2009 | 4 Comments

Тиквеник (for those who can read the Cyrillic Alphabet and/or speak Bulgarian)

Following the Bulgarian specialty dish motif, here is another recipe to tempt and expand your palate.  If you thought the Bulgarian Fried Dough was great, you’ll love this dish too.  What can I say?  Clearly, the Bulgarians know how to do it right, and this is another one of their delicacies.  It is simple, nutritious, and easy to prepare (assuming you don’t have a Fillo dough catastrophe).

Tikvenik
Preparation:

Cut pumpkin in half and remove the seeds*(see tip below for how to use the seeds).  Remove the skin of the pumpkin and cut into 2-inch cubes.  Steam the pumpkin until tender then drain and mash. Add ½ cup of brown sugar (or sweeten to taste) and 1 tsp. of cinnamon then transfer to a pan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat then set aside to cool to room temperature.

Once cool, stir-in the walnuts (about 1 cup, chopped). Now unfold the fillo pastry. Take two sheets and dot with butter or oil. Spread about ¾ cup of the pumpkin mixture across the width of one sheet. Fold over the two shorter ends then roll into a cylinder before rolling into a spiral on a greased baking sheet (see photograph). Repeat the process with the remaining pumpkin and pastry, adding each roll to the end of the spiral, making it larger.

When done, brush the top with melted butter or oil and then transfer to an oven pre-heated to 410°C and bake until lightly browned (about 15 to 20 minutes). Reduce the heat to 365°C and bake for a further 40 minutes. Sprinkle powdered sugar over the top if desired.  Serve hot.

Tikvenik

Tips:

Pumpkin is stock full of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Riboflavin, Potassium, Copper and Manganese.  It is also a good source of Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Phosphorus, Iron, Magnesium, Folate, Niacin, and Vitamin B6.  Pumpkin is also low in sugar, and thus low on the Glycemic Index and suitable for diabetics.  This food is also low in saturated fat, and very low in Cholesterol and Sodium.

*When you are scooping out the seeds and innards, a good idea is to rinse and save the pumpkin  seeds (pepitas) and roast them in the oven.  I seasoned mine with cumin, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, and coriander to give them a nice flavor.  Pumpkin seeds have many health benefits, some of which include a good source of protein, zinc, and other vitamins, and have been said to lower cholesterol.  One gram of pumpkin seed protein contains as much tryptophan as a full glass of milk (see, another reason it’s easy to go vegan).  Pumpkin seeds are a good source of magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and phytosterols.

Walnuts are great for vegans because they are an excellent source of omega-3 essential fatty acids, a special type of protective fat the body cannot manufacture. Walnuts, in particular, have significantly higher amounts of omega 3 fatty acids as compared to other nuts.  Walnuts’ concentration of omega-3s (a quarter-cup provides 90.8% of the daily value for these essential fats) has many potential health benefits ranging from cardiovascular protection, to the promotion of better cognitive function, to anti-inflammatory benefits helpful in asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory skin diseases such as eczema and psoriasis. Walnuts and their Omega-3’s help improve the ratio of good (HDL) cholesterol to potentially harmful (LDL) cholesterol. Omega-3s also reduce inflammation, which is a key component in the processes that turn cholesterol into artery-clogging plaques. Walnuts are one of the best plant sources of protein. They are rich in fiber, B vitamins, magnesium, and Vitamin E.

In addition, walnuts contain an antioxidant compound called ellagic acid that supports the immune system and appears to have several anticancer properties.  Walnuts are considered to be an herb in traditional Chinese medicine. They are said to tonify kidneys, strengthen the back and knees, warm and hold Qi in the lungs and help kidneys to grasp the Qi, moisten the intestines and move stool.

Just remember that all nuts, including walnuts, are high in calories, so moderation is the key (and if you use them to REPLACE meats and cheeses, your health will increase but NOT your caloric intake).

Comments

  1. Kellie says:

    Wow this sounds delicious. I have two organic pumpkins already at home, but no phyllo dough. I just looked up a recipe though and it *seems* quite easy. Thanks for a great suggestion!

  2. Wow! what an thought ! What a concept ! Attractive .. Awesome

  3. Nila Eade says:

    Fascinating, thank you so much! I spent my childhood in Yorkshire in the UK, and I’ve been trying to find a recipe for this delicious pie I remember eating all the time, but can’t remember what we called it!!! Do you know any famous pie recipes from Yorkshire?

  4. admin says:

    Thank you for your comment Nila! I’m so glad you found this recipe useful. It was fun to make and delicious! Thanks for the famous pie recipes from Yorkshire. I’m going to veganize the Chocolate Chip Pie recipe for the upcoming holidays!

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