Borekas de Calabaza- Sephardic Pumpkin Turnovers

The dough for these borekas, which are more like tiny hand pies than a traditional filo dough boureka, is a lovely, crunchy pie crust. Typical of Sephardic-American recipes, it calls for oil, usually olive oil, for a parve dough with Mediterranean influence. But, it is an extremely difficult dough to work with: it flakes, rips, sticks and is tough to roll out.

The original recipe was taken from "Sephardic Holiday Cooking" by Guilda Angel, first edition published in 1986.  I’ve made a few adjustments and worked out a system to deliver fairly foolproof, pretty pies with a crisp crust and yummy center. Feel free to play around with the filling; try different spices, nuts, or even a dash of Sabra chocolate-orange liqueur.

Makes about three dozen.


1 can (15 ounces) cooked pumpkin

1 egg

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

⅓ cup firmly packed light brown sugar

¼ cup chopped walnuts



1 cup vegetable oil (preferably olive oil)

⅓ cup water

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

4 cups all-purpose flour

1 egg

1 tablespoon milk or cream (optional)

Cinnamon and sugar for sprinkling



1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

2. Toast the walnuts in a skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant, 1-2 minutes.

3. In a large bowl, stir together filling ingredients.

4. In another bowl, whisk together oil, water, salt and cinnamon. Add in flour two cups at a time, stirring to mix at first, and then using your hands to form a dough slightly softer than pie dough.




5. Divide dough into balls, about two inches in diameter. On a lightly floured surface, with a rolling pin roll each ball into a rough circle until the dough is ⅛ inch thick.

6. Place a scant teaspoon of filling in the center of each dough circle.  Fold circle in half, sealing edges by pressing with the tines of a fork.









7. Trim rough edges using a round cookie or biscuit cutter.









8. Whisk egg with 1 tablespoon water, milk or cream. Brush boreka tops with this mixture. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.

9. Baked on a greased cookie sheet for 20-25 minutes, until lightly golden on the bottom.




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