Squash, along with corn and beans, are believed to have originated in Mexico and Central America where they were eaten 7,500 years ago. American Indians shared many varieties of squash with the European settlers, who took the seeds back to their countries. Today, squash and pumpkins are grown all over the world, and are wildly popular in many Eastern European countries. But getting a pumpkin in Ukraine is not something to be desired! Here is more about squash in general, and some of my favorite Eastern European pumpkin recipes are listed below.
Traditional pumpkin soup doesn't use the herbs and spices found in many contemporary versions. This is pure pumpkin flavor with the richness of chicken stock. Drop Potato Dumplings -- Kartoflane Kluski - add another flavor layer to this smooth puree.
These versatile pumpkin-filled pierogi can be eaten as an upscale main course with a white-wine or sage cream sauce and toasted pecan garnish, or as dessert with melted butter and a dusting of granulated or confectioners' sugar.
Bulgarian pumpkin banitza (or banitsa) is a dessert version of savory cheese banitzi made with flaky filo dough and either fresh or canned pumpkin. Other sweet fillings include apple and walnut. This is a popular dessert served with strong Turkish coffee.
Potica (po-TEET-sah), also known as povitica (po-vee-TEET-sah), is a yeast-raised dough rolled around a variety of fillings -- sweet or savory. Here, pumpkin seeds are used. Its name derives from the Slovenian word poviti, which means "to wrap in." Every family has its favorite recipe and a walnut potica, the most popular kind, can vary from one household to the next.