Tikvenik - Bulgarian Sweet Pumpkin Pie

"This is a very traditional autumn and winter dish here in Bulgaria. It is almost always done at home and probably that is the reason why I find it to be so comforting when I feel down or lonely or homesick. Or, simply, when I want to feel at home."
photo by Nelka photo by Nelka
photo by Nelka
photo by Nelka photo by Nelka
photo by Nelka photo by Nelka
photo by Nelka photo by Nelka
photo by Nelka photo by Nelka
Ready In:
1hr 30mins




  • Cut the pumpkin or squash into large pieces and boil. You could do that in a sauce pan with water to cover, or even better steam boil it.
  • When soft enough drain, place in a bowl, and puree with a fork.
  • VARIANT: Some people, instead of boiling the pumpkin, prefer to grate it and saute it with some butter or vegetable oil. Others prefer to grate it and put it in raw. Downsides are that in the first case it ends up quite greasy, and in the second quite crunchy.
  • Add the sugar, walnuts, and cinnamon; mix in with the pumpkin.
  • If you decide to use the butter, melt it.
  • Take two sheets of phyllo pastry and drizzle some melted butter on the top one. You could also use a single sheet, butter both sheets, or do as I do and skip the butter altogether.
  • Spoon some of the pumpkin mixture over the pastry and roll loosely. Repeat with the rest of the pastry.
  • Take a non-stick baking sheet or tin (or else oil it). If it is rectangular place the rolls parallel to each other. If it is round, start lining the rim with the rolls, slowly spiraling them towards the centre (you can see what I mean in one of the photos I've submitted).
  • VARIANT: You could decide to do one whole pie instead of individual rolls. For that choose a baking tin slightly smaller than the size of the phyllo sheets (it could be round). Layer the sheets one by one slightly folding them to fit into the tin and to allow air between them. If you are using butter, drizzle some over each sheet you lay. When you have laid two sheets, spoon some pumpkin mixture on top.
  • Continue layering the pastry and the pumpkin mix and finish off with a single sheet of dough.
  • Place the baking tin in the oven.
  • Bake at medium heat for about 20 to 30 minutes. After 10 minutes baking you could take the pie out and spread some butter on it, but I do not do that.
  • Let the pie cool down and serve sprinkled with some caster sugar.

Questions & Replies

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  1. Um...wow! What a wonderful way to use squash. I made this instead of pumpkin pie. I added roasted chestnut because I used a smaller squash and wanted that nuttiness too. I used gluten free phyllo and it worked out perfectly.
  2. This was very good. I made this for a Balkan buffet I just mysteriously got put in charge of, was looking for something that could be dessert or entree. I added a dash of cardamom, ginger, and coriander to make it a little more savory. I found that I needed quite a bit extra filling- it required another 3/4 cup or so of pumpkin mix.
  3. No one can fathom how good this is or how people "uuu and ahh" over it. It is a fantastic change from traditional pumpkin pie and aside from rolling it up, it is easy to make. It has become something people ask for over and over. Thanks to my young Bulgarian DIL - she said it was great too. I don't like phyllo dough, but it's perfect here.


What can I say? I love to cook. And I love to eat. <br> <br>As I am Bulgarian and as I live in Bulgaria I'm bound to do and to post the recipes for many typical Bulgarian or Balkan dishes - like the potato moussaka, the tikvenik and the tarator. You can check out all those and some other Bulrarian recipes posted by other people on the site in my specially devised public cookbook. I hope you try and like them. Bon apetit!
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