Pumpkin Fritters

A friend of the family’s gave us the big, honkin’ pumpkin last year and the first thing to go were the pumpkin seeds. Salted and baked and snacked on whilst passing the time (passa-tempo). I then cut the pumpkin into large pieces and baked them in the oven until for tender. No need to remove the shell of the pumpkin. Simply spoon out the soft flesh, discard the rest and thank heavens that you didn’t have to endure the tedious chore of peeling a pumpkin.

I now have a few bags of frozen pumpkin puree on hand and this past weekend I made some pumpkin fritters. These fritters are a riff on a Greek fave, “kolokithokeftedes” or, zucchini fritters. Pumpkins are referred to as “yellow squash’ in Greek and are related to the abundant summer vegetable, the zucchini.

In both cases, the vegetable must be free of as much excess liquid as possible for a successful fritter. The most common shape of these fritters is like a hamburger patty but you may rolls these up into meatballs, if that turns your crank. These patties make for a wonderful meze or appetizer, a snack or part of a vegetarian or Lenten table. Greek Lent is fast approaching.

Zucchini fritters are usually shallow fried in oil but in this instance I’m baking them off in the oven. I discovered this method while flipping through Three Greek Sisters cookbook. The sisters share their family recipes, wrote all the copy of the book, photographed and self-published – that’s a girl power!

The Three Greek Sisters cookbook has a recipe for baked pumpkin fritters and I was immediately drawn to the method. There’s no frying, a huge reduction in oil use, less time to prepare and overall, a healthier fritter. There’s no baking powder in these, and although the Sisters’ recipe calls for some breadcrumb in the mix, I used none. I had squeezed almost all the water out of the pumpkin puree.

Beyond the usual egg as the binder, what would hold these fritters together you might ask? Potatoes. Par-boiled potatoes. I used Russet potatoes (starchy) and I boiled the potatoes with their skins on – retaining much of the starch needed for binding and most of it’s nutrients.

Flavourings for the pumpkin fritters were focused on my family’s favourites: chopped fresh dill, some mint and scallions. Add the crumbled Feta cheese and you have a balanced fritter with sweet pumpkin, tart Feta and the brightness of fresh dill.

I’m NOT frying Kolokithokeftedes anymore. This baked method is fantastic, saves time and it’s far healthier without sacrificing taste. Works for me!

Pumpkin Fritters

(makes 12-14)

1 large Russet potato, skin on

3 cups of cooked pumpkin puree (became 2 cups when squeezed of excess water)

4 scallions, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 egg

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint (1 Tbsp. if dry)

1/2 cup chopped fresh dill

1 cup of Feta cheese, crumbled

1/2 tsp. black pepper

bread crumbs (optional)

olive oil for brushing/greasing pan

Pre-heated 425F oven

  1. Place your cooked pumpkin puree in a colander (with a bowl underneath) and place in the fridge over night. Place a handful of pumpkin inside a cotton tea towel and wring out as much liquid as possible. Place in large bowl and repeat with remaining pumpkin puree.
  2. In the meantime, place a medium pot of water on your stove-top and when it comes to a boil, add some salt and carefully drop your potato in. Lower the heat to medium and parboil the potato for about 10-12 minutes. Remove the potato and place in a bowl with cold/iced water. As soon as it’s cool enough to handle, peel the skin off with the dull side of a knife. Now coarsely grate the potato into bowl with the pumpkin.
  3. In a small skillet, add a couple of turns of olive oil add your scallions and garlic into a skillet over medium heat. Sweat the scallions & garlic for about 5-7 minutes. Allow to cool before adding into the bowl with the pumpkin.
  4. Add the cooled scallion mixture, chopped herbs, egg, grated potato, crumbled Feta , black pepper and mix with a spatula. If the mixture is too coarse, get your hands in there and mix them well. If the mixture is too dry, add a little olive oil and if the mixture is too wet, add some bread crumbs. Mix again.
  5. Grab a small handful of the pumpkin mixture in your hand and roll into a ball and then flatten into a patty. Place the patty on a baking tray that’s been greased with olive oil. Make the remaining pumpkin mixture into patties.
  6. Brush the tops of the fritters with olive oil and set the back rack to the third position from the top of the oven. Place the baking tray in your pre-heated oven for ten minutes. Flip the patties and bake for another 1o minutes. Serve warm.
  7. Pair with a Gaia Notios white from Nemea.

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© 2007-2010 Peter Minakis

© 2010,
Peter Minakis

. All rights reserved.

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32 Comments for “Pumpkin Fritters”

says:

How many pumpkin fritters on that platter, Mr Petah? About 8? That’s just enough for me so you better start on the second batch now. :) Love the addition of feta cheese in these babies. Delicious!

says:

i just bought some pumpkin last week, and there’s always a lot left over after you’ve used the bit you want, so I thinik i’m going to give this a go – looks good and much healthier than frying

Ξανθή

says:

Peter καλημέρα!!!
Οι κολοκυθοκεφτέδες σου υπέροχοι με την κίτρινη κολοκύθα.
Έχω κάνει μόνο με κολοκυθάκια πράσινα θα δοκιμάσω τη συνταγή σου με κολοκύθα που υπάρχει στην κουζίνα!!

says:

I sometimes make a similar flavoured mixture as a filling for phyllo pastries – such a good combination! Baking them also sounds like a good plan; I get bored frying zucchini fritters.

says:

I will be making these Peter, but in the meantime I am making a twist on your classic recipe for kolokithokeftedes since I am serving Lemon Potatoes as well…maybe I will bake them in the oven too:D

says:

pumpkin. i don’t like it. however, simply seeing the word “fritter” makes my heart flutter, and i love that potatoes are heavily involved too. yeah, i can see myself enjoying these. :)

says:

My Giagia made kolokithokeftedes regularly when pumpkins were in season … brings back so many memories! I’ve enjoyed these with butternut squash and Feta too, but like the pumpkin version so much better. Maybe because it is engrained in my culinary psyche??

The baking method is great … I hate frying!

says:

I love the colour of these fritters. If I didn’t know it contained pumpkin I would have sworn these were curry flavoured and coloured with tumeric. :)

says:

I never quite know what to do with pumpkins (prefer butternut squash for taste), so I welcome this recipe wholeheartedly. Thank you, Peter and thank you Three Sisters:)

says:

And baking is lot less messy than frying. If you line the cookie sheet, there’s no clean up at all! Like most foodies, I love pumpkin in every incarnation. These fritters look delicious and I like the idea of using potato. I think my seasonings would include nutmeg and sage.

says:

I dig your pumpkin riff and love the baking technique cuz I suck at frying ;P I am SO making this. And thank god I don’t have to peel a pumpkin. Amen!

Constance

says:

Delish! I made these for lunch as soon as I read the post. My 7 year old daughter gobbled 2 down, and asked for them again with dinner. Thanks!

says:

At first, welcome to your new “spiti”… Secondly, marvelous keftedes… being enamored with the veggie world, this plate is a surprise, well thinking…

says:

These are really cute. I think this would work with my family to make them eat some pumpkin. In my hometown we just slice the peeled pumpkin in to little rectangles, sprinkle with salt and pepper and deep fry them.

Peggy

says:

These were very good, thank you for the recipe.

Baking made these much less trouble to make, I could do something else while they were in the oven. However, the wringing was a bit tough on the hands. Used butternut because it was all I had, but next time I hope to try with a naturally drier pumpkin.

Don’t toss the liquid squeezed from the pumpkin. I froze it and added its delicious, syrupy goodness to the next pumpkin soup I made.