The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Holiday + breadcrumbs + pumpkin and feta pie

PiPs's picture

Holiday + breadcrumbs + pumpkin and feta pie

Weekend dawn has surrendered to lazy rain and on our kitchen counter French toast soaks as the remainder of the house sleeps. 

A week ago we spent some time near the beach well away from the routine of our city life. Time spent on beaches and flying kites in the salted seabreeze rejuvenates the soul. During sunset walks we stepped over washed up jellyfish whilst gazing at distant whales breaching on the horizon. But most important of all we relaxed.

Back in Brisbane, I have landed some temp work with a design agency which is keeping my days full and my brain busy. It is nice to be challenged and I think the work will reward both my confidence and skills–which is exactly what I need right now.

Ever since I started baking I have always breadcrumbed my leftover bread, and the tempo of its use in our cooking matches the rate at which we collect stale bread–a perfect equilibrium! When grabbing a few slices of desem bread from the freezer for breakfast I noticed that my collection of stale bread ends had snowballed and contained all sorts of treasures like Tartine's Sesame Bread, Danish Rye, Desem, Miche and some Pain au Levain's with bold baked crusts.

These combined flavours in the breadcrumbs adds an exciting strength of flavour to the ready-made flavours available in caramel crusts. A caraway and cumin loaf is an exquisite addition if available! 

I have found the best time to approach making breadcrumbs is at the close of a weekend bread bake. After switching off the oven, the collection of stale bread is defrosted, cut into small cubes, spread on a baking tray and left on the cooling baking stone for the night. The following morning I check the brittleness of the bread cubes–there should be no softness at all–then in batches reduce them to fine crumbs in a food processor. Ear plugs are a luxury for this!


The flour milled with my Komo mill is used for more than just bread. I have been trialling shortcrust pastries made with freshly milled wheat sifted down to a dark high extraction flour with delicious results. This recipe is one of our favourite meals and has been made all the better by replacing the standard frozen shortcrust pastry the original recipe calls for. I have never seen children so eager to eat pumpkin as they are when presented with a slice of this pie.


Pumpkin and Feta Pie
Serves 6

200g high extraction four chilled (preferably freshly milled)
100g unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
pinch of sea salt
2-3 tablespoons chilled water

Half a butternut pumpkin (squash) peeled and cut into 2cm (3/4 inch) cubes
4 garlic cloves unpeeled
4 tablespoons of olive oil
2 red onions halved and sliced
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
100g (3 1/2oz) crumbled feta cheese
1 tablespoon chopped rosemary 

  1. Put the flour, butter and pinch of salt in a food processor and process for 1 minute. Add the chilled water and process until the mixture comes together. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours.
  2. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Spread the pumpkin and garlic on a baking tray and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and bake for 30 minutes or until tender. Transfer the pumpkin to a large bowl and the garlic to a plate. Leave to cool.
  3. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan. Add the onion and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes stirring occasionally. Add the sugar and vinegar and cook for a further 15 minutes or until the onion is a dark golden colour. Add to the pumpkin and allow to cool completely.
  4. Add the feta and rosemary to the pumpkin mix and squeeze the garlic out the skins into the mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Roll out the pastry to a 35cm (14 inch) circle and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Arrange the pumpkin mixture over the top leaving a 4cm (1 1/2 inch) border. Fold over the pastry edges, pleating as you fold.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes or until pastry is crisp and golden.


The rain appears to have really set in and the garden is just soaking it up. So while we are housebound for the time being it seems there is no excuse for not getting stuck into some neglected housework ... before I get into trouble ... eeek!

Happy baking (and milling) everybody.



Janetcook's picture

Hi Phil,

Late here and I decided to check in just to see what was here.  Your entry was first up and soooo welcome with the photos from your trip....Instantly took me to a quiet place within. Something about seeing things that have endured and will endure for eons does that to me....The immensity of the ocean and how it 'just is'.  The gifts it leaves behind for those who care to see.  Reminds me of my childhood and walking along the beaches in California......

The food. I had never thought of drying my old frozen bread in the oven and then grinding it up. (I have the same little chopper I see in your photo...) Certainly would make it easier when I need altus for a loaf.  I am assuming you can store the crumbs in an air tight container indefinitely?  If they last that long???

I love the way you wrap your pie crust around the filling.  What keeps the liquids from oozing out during the bake?    I learned the food processor pie crust trick years ago and love it.  So simple to do.  Will be making a pumpkin pie here shortly because our Thanksgiving is just around the corner.  My son LOVES pumpkin pie.  Waits all year for me to make one and now I am wondering why I don't bake them more often since they are so easy to do....


Thanks for the wonderful post and the peek at your piece of the great ocean that surrounds us all.

Take Care,


PiPs's picture

Hi Janet,

I just love being near the ocean ... preferably not in it as I am not a strong swimmer :) We are very lucky with to have so many beautiful beaches close at hand here ... we need to visit them more often.

We always a ready supply of breadcrumbs that I keep in a air tight container in the freezer. We use them for thickening stews/sauces, on top of grated cheese when baking, on pizzas ... the list goes on and on ...

The pie has a frim filling so no need to worry about oozing mess :) ... A great savoury dinner!



Wandering Bread's picture
Wandering Bread

The pumpkin feta pie looks brilliant! I need to try that out.

PiPs's picture

Thanks Wandering bread,

Even with store bought shortcrust pastry it is a great meal. Definitely give it a go:)


dabrownman's picture

ranks up there with the 'Super Hero Green and Purple Sage and Walnut Bread' !  I love the fact that you didn't puree the mass into a goo, add eggs and some kind of milk to custerdize it.  The galette style also make it that much more savory too.  Will be adding this to bake list begfore Thanksgiving as soon as the apple crumble pie is gone.

Very nice baking.

PiPs's picture

Hey dabrownman,

We don't have the sweet pumpkin pie tradition over here ... in Australia pumpkin is seen as a very savoury food. We had some tonight roasted as a side dish to a roast lamb we did on the BBQ.

I have had many conversations with people here trying to explain that traditional pumpkin pie is sweet .... and it's almost impossible to find the pumpkin puree that many of the online recipes call for in shops.

Well, this recipe is a savoury dish in the Australian pumpkin tradition (though we make a pretty darn good pumpkin scone)


isand66's picture

I love your photos of your "get-away".

I'm not a big pumpkin pie guy but that sure does look tasty.

Thanks for sharing your breadcrumb secrets with us.


PiPs's picture

Hi Ian,

This pie might change your mind ... this is not the sweet smooth pie you may be used too ... this is a meal :)


Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Oh man.  I was not a huge fan of pumpkin...I love feta....saw these I love pumpkin.

Please, don't post any photos of yourself Phil, your food photos have that effect, and I'm happily married :)

Keep up the amazing stuff.


PiPs's picture

Ha, ha ... thanks John,

As long as I keep feta away from me I should be safe then ;)


ml's picture

Hi Phil,

I love your pie! I actually do make squash pies fairly often, so nice to have a new one.

When do you open the Cafe?


PiPs's picture

Thanks ml,

... Hope you try it and like it ... 

Busy enough feeding the troops at home at the moment :)


breadsong's picture

Hi Phil,
I am glad to hear you had a good holiday, visiting what looks like a very beautiful place...your photos of the beach, sky, water and waves are lovely to look at!
Your pumpkin galette looks absolutely delicious, with the colorful fillings and freshly-milled high-extraction flour pastry crust (perfectly pleated!). The flavors brought out by roasting the vegetables must have been amazing.
It is your Spring, but our Fall, and this is just the kind of thing we enjoy, this time of year.
Wishing you the best for your work, and thanks for sharing another lovely bake!
:^) breadsong 

PiPs's picture

Thanks breadsong,

I think this kind of flour really adds to the pastry flavour ... I made a apple pie on the weekend for the kids which had some lemons zest, a sprinkle of sugar and high extraction flour in the pastry ... just delightful! I really prefer sifted flour to wholewheat flour for the pastry.


SylviaH's picture

What a beautiful savory pie for the holidays and with a lovely, beautifully pleated wholesome crust.  Thank you for sharing all the lovely photos and write-up.  


PiPs's picture

Thanks Sylvia,

Hope you enjoy the holidays!


jarkkolaine's picture

And I love the way you have started adding some graphic elements to them. 

Making bread crumbs out of stale bread has been a part of my bread making routine since the beginning. I grate the bread by hand after letting it dry at room temperature. This is tricky because the bread becomes really hard -- and so I can't get all of it grated. I wonder if doing it your way would help in leaving the bread a bit easier to turn into crumbs? I guess I'll have to give it a try :)



PiPs's picture

Thanks Jarkko,

Thought I should start putting some more effort into the presentation :) - I mean, it's what I do all day :)

Grating the bread sounds like a lot of work ... whew ... give this method a go ... I think even for grating the bread drying it in the oven will help.

All the best,

ananda's picture

Always good to read about holidays, Phil!

Such great photographs from you too, of course.

The pie sounds wonderful; pumpkin and feta, a great combination

Very best wishes


PiPs's picture

Hi Andy,

Nice to hear from you ... hope your dissertation writing went well.

It is a classic combo ... + Rosemary tops it off