This Savory Phyllo Dough Pumpkin Pie is the most unusual Pumpkin Pie you’ll ever try!! It’s perfect for the Fall season and for pumpkin lovers. I love Fall and anything with pumpkin in it. So naturally, I wanted to create a recipe with pumpkin that my children enjoy too. I decided to use a traditional dough from back home and create a new pie. It took me few attempts until I got it right. However, when it was done the house smelled of pumpkin and my kids couldn’t get enough of it. Mission accomplished:) . It’s safe to say that no utensils were used in the consumption of this pie!!!
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What is Phyllo Dough?
Phyllo, fillo or filo is a special dough used to make traditional food in the Mediterranean, Balkan, Middle Eastern and Eastern European regions.
In Albania, we prepare byrek and bakllava with phyllo dough. Bakllava is a pastry often filled with walnuts and seeped in a sweet syrup. While byrek is a main dish where layers of phyllo dough are filled with meat, spinach or feta cheese. Homemade dough is made with flour, water and oil. Then each layer is rolled and stretched repeatedly in a repetitive motion with the rolling pin until stretched very thin to the desired dimensions.
Usually you need about 15-20 layers for byrek and about 100 for bakllava. The process is really an impressive work of art! Here in US, I buy the layers of phyllo dough frozen, they’re usually sold in a packet with 2 sheets of phyllo dough.
Savory Pumpkin Pie
This Phyllo Dough Pumpkin Pie is pretty unusual because it is not a dessert like most pumpkin pies. I use the phyllo dough layers to create the pie and the pumpkin/ricotta filling goes in the middle. Then I bake the whole thing around 375 for about 40 minutes.
The combination of flavors between phyllo, pumpkin and ricotta cheese is just perfect. My kids couldn’t get enough of it last week, it did help that they could eat each piece by hand:).
In my native country, this specific dish is called Byrek me Kungull. Traditionally, the pumpkin or squash used for this recipe would be peeled, de-seeded and grated. Then you squeeze the grated squash and then use it in filling. However, I prefer baking the pumpkin before hand and scooping out the flesh afterwards.
Phyllo Pumpkin Recipe Tips & Notes
Please note that phyllo dough sheets have to be thawed in room temperature. You cannot microwave them! The time you let them thaw depends on how frozen they are. Pretty much the layers have to come apart from each other and not stick or break when you try to pull them apart.
Traditionally we’d use Albanian Gjize or Gjiza to mix with pumpkin for the filling of this phyllo pie. However, in the absence of gjiza, the closest thing to it is ricotta!!! Both ricotta and butter can have different salt quantities, so feel free to adjust the salt for this recipe to the other ingredients.
Baking the phyllo layers is an art of its own. You have to make sure you include enough butter or oil in between the phyllo sheets so they don’t stick together. Back home, we just sprinkled butter with a spoon as I demonstrate in the video below in the recipe card. It’s much easier if you have a brush.
Usually I try to place the first couple of phyllo layers hanging a bit from the edges of the baking dish. At the end I roll them over so filling doesn’t spill out. See the video below for a demonstration.
Lastly, the final tip is to place an aluminum foil cover over the pie halfway through baking time so the upper layers don’t get burned but the heat can still penetrate towards the middle of the pie. This helps ensure all layers are baked and middle of the pie (byrek) is not soggy!!
Savory Phyllo Dough Pumpkin Pie
- Glass Baking dish 10×14
- 2 sheets phyllo dough thawed
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 10 ozs ricotta
- 1 pumpkin small, about 2 lbs, pie size
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 0.5 tbsp salt Adjust salt to taste depending on how salty ricotta is
- 0.5 tsp Italian Seasoning
- Clean pumpkin inside and out. Deseed with a spoon, knife or carving tool. Turn oven on to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cut pumpkin in half and place it in a baking dish. Bake for about 25 minutes or until you can easily pierce the pumpkin pieces through with a fork.
- Let the pumpkin cool until it is cool it enough to handle so you can scoop it with a spoon into a bowl. Mash the pumpkin.
- Whisk the eggs until creamy then add over pumpkin. Then add milk, ricotta, salt & Italian seasoning to the scooped pumpkin. Mix well for a homogenous filling.
- Melt the butter stick on the stovetop or microwave. If using the microwave, please melt in 15 seconds interval because butter gets very hot and can hurt you if it bubbles over.
- Make sure the phyllo dough layers are thawed and easily detached from one another. Usually I get them out of the freezer when I first wake up in the morning and let them thaw on the kitchen counter for few hours.
- Sprinkle some of the melted butter throughout the baking dish with a spoon. I usually use a 14X10 (approximate dimensions) baking glass dish. Place some layers (2-3) of phyllo dough in a way that they lay over the edges. Sprinkle with butter or brush. Keep adding layers and alternating with brushing butter every 2 layers until first sheet of dough is finished
- Add the filling on top and spread evenly.
- Start laying layers of 2nd sheet of phyllo dough on top of filling. Again repeat the process of sprinkling with butter every 2 or so layers. Once you are done with sheet 2, fold over the spilling edges of phyllo dough layers that we left on purpose hanging from the edges. This will seal the pie and make sure it doesn't bubble over. Plus, it makes for pretty servings when it is all baked.
- Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 40 minutes (or until golden brown) on the bottom rack of the oven. Cover with aluminum foil half way through. Once baked, sprinkle some water over the pie and cover so it can continue cooking internally. Leave it covered for about half an hour.
- Cut in square pieces and serve!! Enjoy:)
- Taste ricotta how salty it is and adjust salt qty for filling accordingly.
- Make sure phyllo dough sheets are thawed.
- Give yourself time to scoop the roasted pumpkin after it is baked, you don’t want to burn your hands.
- Feel free to add spices to the filling to taste. Since phyllo dough and pumpkin together are a unique combination, I tried to keep it simple in this recipe. Additional spices you can try are thyme and nutmeg.
If you would like to save this recipe for later, please pin it in Pinterest. Thank you:). Feel free to ask questions in comments below or contact me in social media. Thank you:)
Other Pumpkin Recipes:
For additional and unique Pumpkin recipes, please see below links:
If you like Butternut Squash more than Pumpkin, I have some Butternut Squash recipes too:)
Update: This recipe was initially published on Oct 5, 2018 and updated with new pictures and video on Oct 16, 2020.