Placinda – Flaky Pumpkin Pie

A prominent Rabbi picks up an apple, pronounces the appropriate blessing, and bites into it. One of his students also picks up an apple, mutters a blessing, and takes a bite. Then he stops and asks:

“Rabbi, what is the difference between you and me eating an apple? We both say the same blessing, yet I can feel something emanating from you that I cannot define.”

“That, my son, is because you recite the blessing in order to eat, – says the Rabbi, – and I eat in order to have another chance to thank the A-mighty for offering me this beautiful, juicy, and sweet apple.”

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I am sure that today your tables will be disappearing beneath a multitude of traditional Thanksgiving dishes. Until we came to the U.S., this holiday wasn’t a part of our yearly celebration roster. It was my father, may he rest in peace, who made it our family tradition. Every year, we had to have a turkey with all the fixings, and my father would raise a glass in gratitude. He always concluded the holiday dinner by saying,”G-d bless America for taking us in!”

Two years ago he was already too weak to go out and to come to my house for dinner, so I cooked the turkey (just the turkey breast, please click here) with my father’s favorite stuffing (please click here) and all the fixings (please click here), packed it all up and brought the entire Thanksgiving celebration to his apartment. Today, there is emptiness not only at the head of the table, but also in my heart, even though I am sure that my father is now in a better place. Still, when I serve Placinda for dessert, I will hear my father’s voice: “G-d bless America for taking us in!”

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Placinda, AKA Placinte, or, in German, Platchinda, is a flaky pie. It could be filled with anything you want, and its closest relative is Mediterranean Baklava, but this particular style, sometimes called Platschenta and filled with pumpkincomes from Bessarabian Platchta – blanket, and that’s exactly what it looks like. Until we came to the U.S., it held no particular significance to us; we just loved it as a great dessert.

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Take a butternut squash, peel it, and dice it to about the size of a bean. I’ve seen people grating it, but then you know how it is, everybody’s grandmother has the original recipe! You should get about 3 –  3 1/2 cups of it.

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You’ll need a cup of brown sugar, some cinnamon, and a sprinkle of allspice. Add all this to your diced pumpkin and mix well. I do know how to make flaky dough, but Phyllo is so easily available!

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Oil a deep baking pan and start lining it with individual sheets of Phyllo, making sure they overhang the pan by a couple of inches (about 5 cm) on all sides. Double-line the bottom. Now you have to spread the filling gently – don’t break fragile Phyllo sheets! – but evenly and cover it with flaps.

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The blanket comes last – 2 – 3 more Phyllo sheets on top – and isn’t it pretty, misted with oil and sprinkled with sumac? Send it to the oven for about 45 – 50 minutes and go do something else. I am sure you still have plenty of things to do!

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Light, fluffy, creamy and crunchy at the same time, here is my father’s favorite Placinda – flaky pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving.  I am thankful for a wonderful father I had been blessed to have, to learn from and to love for many years. I am thankful for his kindness and his smile, for his sense of humor and his sense of responsibility, for all the memories that will always be with me!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 butternut squash, finely diced (about 3 1/2 – 4 cups)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 8 – 10 Phyllo or other flaky dough sheets
  • A sprinkle of sumac

PROCEDURE

  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Peel and dice squash into bean-size pieces. Add brown sugar, cinnamon, and allspice, mix well. Put aside.
  • Spray deep baking pan with oil. Line with Phyllo sheets, making sure they overhang on all sides by 2 inches (5 cm). Double-line bottom of pan.
  • Gently spread filling, cover with flaps, place 2 – 3 Phyllo sheets on top. Mist with oil, sprinkle sumac.
  • Bake for 45 – 50 minutes until light golden. Cool and cut in pan.

Happy Thanksgiving – enjoy!

 

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28 Comments Add yours

  1. louis11725 says:

    Happy Thanksgiving!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much, dear Louis!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. purpleslob says:

    I am thankful you came too!! Happy Thanksgiving!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am thankful for having a wonderful purple friend! Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. purpleslob says:

        Oh, I did, DOlly! How about you?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. We did, too, but overate something terrible! 😻

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Happy Thanksgiving ! thank you for your marvellous ideas 🙂 amitiés

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comment, darling!

      Like

  4. A_Boleyn says:

    Thank you for sharing both the rabbi story and the memory of your dear father. Placinta is something that my mother made a couple of times a year with home made fresh ‘strudel’ dough. We liked cheese (feta and some ricotta) or grated apple fillings best so those were the kinds that she made most often. Sometimes though, usually in the fall, she would make a placinta with grated pumpkin or butternut squash (dovleac) and the sweet roasted fillings were greatly appreciated.

    Have a great Thanksgiving.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear friend, for your understanding and good wishes!
      We also made pies using strudel dough: sweet farmer cheese with raisins and savory farmer cheese with scallions and dill for Shavuos, and diced, rather than grated apples “vertuta” whenever apples were in season.
      Have a wonderful weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Happy Thanksgiving, Dolly! What a wonderful recipe, and the intro story is as great as true.
    I am feeling with you, in view on your father. Best wishes, Michael

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comment and your good wishes, dear friend!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Always a great pleasure to me, Dolly! Have a nice weekend. Michael

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Yum! Happy Thanksgiving to you and everyone you love!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. spearfruit says:

    Nice story Dolly and thanks for sharring some of your familyn

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for understanding, dear friend!

      Like

  8. spearfruit says:

    Grear looking recipe Dolly and perfect for Thanksgiving. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Your father and my mother would have gotten along well. Thank you for sharing his story, Dolly. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear Anna! My father got along well with everyone, and I suppose that your mother did too. These memories are precious!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. kelleysdiy says:

    thank you for another delicious recipe, you are fabulous, just wonderful!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you again, dear friend!

      Like

  11. It’s abolutely yummy!!!!! My mom used to live during her youth in Moldova. There was really popular dish!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sure, that’s where we got it from; only an hour away from Kishinev, and some Moldavian neighbors.
      Thank you so much for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

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