Creamy pumpkin, salty feta, and crunchy phyllo combine to make the perfect fall or holiday pumpkin appetizers.
By Amy Traverso
Nov 08 2019
Squash and pumpkin are some of the best and coziest foods of fall, but the ubiquity of “pumpkin spice” everything, from coffee to protein powder to dog treats, can blind you to pumpkin’s broader appeal as a vegetable. Casting around for some savory pumpkin ideas, I thought of spanakopita triangles, those crunchy phyllo-wrapped appetizers filled with spinach and feta. I wanted to enjoy the same crunch with a sweet-savory filling. The easy answer was to combine some lightly caramelized onion with canned pumpkin, a dash of nutmeg, and feta. Some thyme also sounded good, so I infused a few fresh sprigs into the butter that I brushed between the phyllo sheets. With just 10 ingredients and very little prep work, I was able to pack the triangles with all the best fall flavors. For parties, you can easily double the recipe and make it ahead of time (just freeze before baking, then pop them straight into the oven, adding an extra 5 to 10 minutes to the bake).
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup diced onion
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
4 sprigs fresh thyme
20 sheets phyllo dough (if frozen, thaw according to package instructions)
4 ounces feta cheese
Preheat the oven to 350° and set a rack to the middle position.
Set a skillet over medium heat and add the oil. When it’s hot, add the onions and salt and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add sugar and nutmeg, reduce heat to low, and cook until onions are golden and fragrant, 8 to 10 minutes more. Add pumpkin purée, increase heat to medium-low, and let the mixture simmer until it thickens slightly, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and add the thyme sprigs. Let the mixture simmer over medium-low heat for 5 minutes, then remove from heat.
Using a ruler, cut the phyllo dough into horizontal strips about 2 3/4 inches wide (a pizza cutter is helpful here). Cover the pile of strips with a clean, damp towel.
Take one strip of phyllo and lay on a clean, dry work surface. Use a pastry brush to brush the surface with the thyme butter. Lay a second strip of phyllo over the butter and lightly press to seal. Scoop out a scant tablespoon of the pumpkin filling and drop it about 1 1/2 inches from the right end of the phyllo strip. Sprinkle a bit of feta on top. Fold the edge of the phyllo dough up over the filling to make a square shape at one end, then begin folding the pastry up into triangles, the way you do when folding a flag. When finished, press the seam to seal and place on a large baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough strips and filling.
Bake triangles until nicely browned, 30 to 35 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature, garnished with a bit of fresh thyme.