Tikvenik is a Bulgarian pumpkin pie that can be made in a tray or in the form of strudel. Crunchy phyllo (filo) dough crust hugs layers of shredded sweet pumpkin and walnuts that blend into each other in this hearty homemade pumpkin pie. Tikvenik recipe is dairy free and vegan too.
Have you ever cooked with phyllo dough (sometimes called fillo)? Cooking with phyllo dough is actually very popular in the Eastern Parts of Europe, as well as across middle eastern countries. You can cook almost everything with phyllo – both sweet and savory meals and desserts.
The pros of living in Eastern Europe is that phyllo dough is in one’s blood (literally). Growing up here was always something phyllo on the table – sweet or savory. So today, I’m sharing with you a family favorite homemade pumpkin pie recipe (called Tikvenik, meaning something made with pumpkin), that is made entirely with fresh pumpkin and phyllo dough.
WHAT IS PHYLLO (FILO) DOUGH PASTRY?
Phyllo dough is a paper thin pastry dough made from flour, water and salt. It’s predominantly used in baking and cannot be consumed uncooked. There is no butter or any type of fat (like lard) in it, nor are there eggs. That makes phyllo dough sheets extra thin and crispy when baked (plus vegan too).
PHYLLO DOUGH PUMPKIN PIE – INGREDIENTS
Today we are making a different type of pumpkin pie, many have probably never tried before. Pumpkin pie that is made with fresh shredded pumpkin (not canned), thin phyllo dough and some crunchy nuts. It’s very easy to assemble, the toughest part of preparing this pumpkin pie is actually shredding the pumpkin.
This pumpkin pie is dairy free and vegan too. It can also be made with gluten-free phyllo dough.
- Phyllo dough pastry – the layers of phyllo pastry separate the pumpkin pie filling.
- Fresh shredded pumpkin – another main ingredient – use preferably butternut squash as it’s softer, thus easier to cut and shred.
- Walnuts – raw, chopped walnuts create a wonderful, crunchy feel in the filling.
- Brown sugar – as this phyllo pumpkin pie is actually a dessert, sugar is needed to make it additionally sweet.
- Vegetable oil – you can use extra virgin olive oil, sunflower oil, or canola oil.
- Water – for sprinkling.
HOW TO MAKE PHYLLO DOUGH PUMPKIN PIE FROM SCRATCH
- Wash, cut pumpkin in pieces, then remove outer layer (skin). The grate, using a grater.
- In a large mixing bowl add shredded raw pumpkin, brown sugar, vegetable oil and chopped walnuts. Mix well. Then preferably taste test – you can add more sugar, walnuts or oil if desired.
- Choose a non stick round baking pan (like this one), then start layering.
- First add one phyllo sheet to the bottom. Then sprinkle 2-4 tbsp of pumpkin mix onto the phyllo sheet. Do not try to cover the whole surface of the phyllo sheet as pie may get too soggy.
- Then, place another sheet onto the filling layer and sprinkle some pumpkin mix again.
- Repeat until there is no pumpkin filling. Leave one phyllo sheet to cover the whole pumpkin pie.
- In the mixing bowl of the filling add 3-4 tbsp of water. Then using a spoon gently wet the whole pie on top and on the sides.
- Place in preheated oven and bake on 360F/180C until the top of the pie becomes crisp and brownish.
- Let cool completely, then cut in squares/triangles and enjoy.
MORE EUROPEAN RECIPES TO TRY:
- Chicken Meatball Soup with Kale and Rice Noodles (Instant pot friendly)
- Egg Noodles (Spätzle) with cheesy shiitake mushrooms and broccoli sauce
- Cellentani pasta with ground turkey and tomato sauce
- Mini Apple Strudel (Apfelstrudel)
- Beef Liver Steak Recipe (for Iron Deficiency)
Phyllo dough pumpkin pie recipe
- 1 pack phyllo (filo) dough, approx. 16 phyllo sheets
- 6-8 cups shredded pumpkin (butternut squash) , fresh
- 2 cups walnuts, chopped
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 cups water, as needed
- Cut and shred pumpkin (using grater), then place in large mixing bowl and add sugar, walnuts and vegetable oil. Stir well until combined. If desired one can add more sugar/walnuts – just taste the mix straight from the bowl.
- Then, in a large baking pan (mine is round, approx. 9 inch) start by layering 2 phyllo sheets together (if for some reason phyllo sheets are not as thin, lay one by one). Sheets should look 'wrinkled' if you use round pan, so they can fit inside.
- Then distribute pumpkin mix throughout the sheets (not all parts of the sheet should be covered with pumpkin mix – see photos above recipe). Then layer another pair of phyllo sheets and repeat until pumpkin mix is over. Final layer should be one phyllo sheet.
- Then add 1/4 cups of water (or less) to mixing bowl and spoon by spoon start wetting the ends of pumpkin pie around the pan (otherwise they turn too crispy as there's no filling around the edges of the pan). Then sprinkle water over the last phyllo sheet (should be moist, but not dripping).
- Preheat oven at max temperature, then reduce (to 350F/180C) and bake pumpkin pie until top becomes crispy and brownish. Check regularly to avoid burning it out. Then set aside to cool down and cut into squares.
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