Pumpkin & Cheese Coiled Pastries
Boyos de kalavasa – rodanchas
About the Recipe
For the Sephardim of Rhodes Island the Rosh Hashanah table is unimaginable without our iconic savory pastries, desayuno.
Pumpkin or butternut filo-like coiled pastries, boyos de kalavasa are delectable, with a medley of Greek cheese and warming spices of cinnamon and cloves.
The distinctive coil or ‘rose’ shape, like the Turkish gül böreği, is said to have been symbolic of the ‘Island of Roses’, Isola de les Rose as the Italians called this beautiful island during their occupation from 1912.
Boyos, (also known as rodanchas) are traditionally offered at the New Year table with toasted chopped almonds in the filling and dusted with confectioner’s sugar and cinnamon to auger a sweet year.
If making this age-old recipe with yeast seems daunting, for a quick and easier version you can use store-bought filo.
These pastries make a fabulous light meal or offered as a meze with a drink.
I hope you enjoy your festive table. Kome kon gana – bon appetit!
Pumpkin or butternut & cheese filling:
2¼lb (1kg) pumpkin or butternut, peeled, seeded and cut into 2in (5cm) chunks
1 tsp superfine (caster) sugar
½ tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
a pinch of ground cloves
1 cup grated kashkaval or hard sharp cheese
½ cup grated feta cheese
½ cup toasted chopped almonds
For the dough:
¼ tsp active dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 cup warm water
3¼ cups all-purpose flour, or as needed
a pinch of salt
2 tsp unsalted butter
½ cup warm water
For brushing and topping:
mix ½ cup melted butter with ½ cup olive oil in a small bowl
mix ½ cup of flour with 1 tbsp grated sharp hard cheese
2 tbsp confectioner’s (icing) sugar mixed with ½ tsp cinnamon
You will need:
1 rectangular dish, with enough vegetable oil to cover 25 balls of dough
Prepare ahead the pumpkin and cheese filling.
Bring about 1.5 inch of water to the boil. Place the butternut chunks in a steaming basket inside the pot. Cover and let steam for about 30 minutes until tender. Drain in a colander, place the pumpkin in a clean tea towel and squeeze out excess liquid.
Put the cooked pumpkin in a bowl and mash (I like to use a potato ricer). Add the sugar, salt, spices, cheese, almonds and mix thoroughly. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Prepare the starter: Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm water in a small bowl. Stir, cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 5-10 minutes, until frothy.
Prepare the dough: Put 2½ cups flour with the salt in a large bowl. Work the butter into the flour with your fingertips. Make a well in the center of the flour and add the starter. Add the warm water and mix well until a sticky dough mass begins to form. Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until smooth and elastic, adding a little flour if still sticky.
Divide the dough into 1oz (28g) pieces. Roll each piece into smooth balls between your palms and immerse in the prepared dish of oil. Turn balls over once to coat well and let sit in the oil.
Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
Take one ball at a time, starting with the ones first placed in the oil and press between your palms to flatten. Place on a work surface and, with the fingertips of both hands, press the dough outwards as much as possible. Then, working around the flattened dough, gently lift and stretch the edges outwards with your fingertips until paper thin and about 12in (30cm) in diameter. Brush lightly with the melted butter and oil mixture and cut off any thick edges with a sharp knife and discard. Sprinkle with a little of the prepared flour and cheese mixture.
Shape and fill the dough: Spread about 2 tbsp of filling evenly along the bottom edge of the stretched dough. Roll gently into one long cylinder about 1in (2.5cm) in diameter. Then coil the roll into a spiral shape with the seam-side down.
Repeat until all the pastry and filling are used up.
Brush the tops lightly with the melted butter and oil mixture. Dust the tops using a small sieve with confectioner’s sugar and cinnamon mixture.
Transfer the filled pastries to the baking trays, leaving a little space between them. Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden brown and crisp. Transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm.