Pumpkin or Squash, Leek, Walnut, and Cheese Tart

One of the many fall dishes we make to use up the large supply of squash and pumpkins of the island.

 

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Serves 6-8 people (12-13’’ pie or pizza pan)

 

Olive oil

 

3-4 leeks, white plus a little of the green part, sliced to 1/4 inch pieces (about 5 cups), washed and well drained

 

1 pound seeded and peeled pumpkin or squash, preferably butternut squash or Calabanza, (from a piece about 1 1/2 pounds) cut to 1/2 -inch cubes

 

2 cups crumbled feta cheese

 

3 tablespoons kopanisti* or sharp blue cheese

 

1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

 

1 cup thick Greek yogurt, preferably full-fat

 

Freshly ground pepper

 

Salt

 

2 large eggs

 

3 tablespoons milk

 

1 sheet (1/2 a 17 1/4-ounce package) frozen puff pastry, thawed according to the package instructions

 

 

In a large skillet warm 3-4 tablespoons olive oil and sauté the leeks over medium heat, stirring every now and then, until soft, about 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400F (200 C).

 

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a bowl add diced pumpkin/squash and 3 tablespoons olive oil and toss well to coat. Spread squash/pumpkin on the lined pan, on a single layer, and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until tender.

Lower oven temperature to 350 F (175 C) .

 

In a large bowl mix the leeks with the baked squash/pumpkin, add cheeses, walnuts, and yogurt, reserving 3 tablespoons. Toss to mix, add pepper and taste. You may not need additional salt as the cheeses are quite salty.

Separate the eggs and set aside one yolk.

Stir the eggs into the pumpkin/squash  mixture.

 

Roll the pastry and line a 12” or 13’’ pie or pizza pan, trimming it to about 2” overhang.

 

Pour the filling in the pan and smooth with a spatula. Turn the overhanging pastry to cover the rim of the tart.

 

In a bowl mix the reserved yogurt, the yolk, and the milk. Brush the pastry lightly with the mixture and reserve the rest.

 

Bake the tart at the bottom of the preheated oven for 15 minutes.

Wearing oven mitts, open the oven and slide the rack carefully half-way out, and pour the rest of the egg-milk mixture on the center of the tart, spreading it lightly with the brush to cover the filling. Continue baking for another 30 minutes, or more, until golden brown.

Let cool on a rack for about 10 minutes before cutting to serve.

 

 

  • Kopanisti is a sharp, fermented, spreadable sheep’s milk cheese from the Cyclades, similar to the Italian ricotta forte.

 

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