Bučnica – traditional Balkanic pumpkin pie recipe

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Autumn brings many seasonal delicacies to the kitchen. One of the tastiest ingredients is pumpkin. There are many traditional recipes created by our grandmothers, and coolinarika.com brings you one.


– 500 g of special flour for thin dough (or smooth)

– a pinch of salt

– 5 tablespoons of oil

– 300 ml of lukewarm water

– a little oil for coating the dough


– 250-300 g grated, salted and drained pumpkin

– 250 g of fresh cheese

– 400 g of sour cream

– 1 egg

– salt



1. One small pumpkin is enough for one portion of bučnica. Peel it, cut it in half, remove the seeds and grate it (or you can buy it already cleaned and grated at the market). Salt the grated pumpkin well and let it stay for a while to release the water (like when you prepare zucchini). Then drain it well with your hands, then put it in a clean kitchen towel, make a bundle and squeeze it with your hands so that all the excess water drains out.

2. The pumpkin prepared in this way will form into a lump, so use your fingers to separate the threads and place it in the bowl in which you will prepare the filling.

3. Now add grated cheese and cream to the pumpkin and salt. But be careful! The pumpkin is already salty, so I recommend tasting the filling to determine how much salt is still needed. Add the egg and mix well until you get a homogeneous mixture.


1. Sift flour, salt and oil into a bowl and add lukewarm water. I needed a little less than 300 ml, but it depends on the quality of the flour. So, if it’s too dry, feel free to add more water, if the dough is sticky, add more flour.

2. Knead these ingredients into a soft, smooth, non-sticky dough. Shape it into a ball, lightly coat it with very little oil, put it back in the container, cover it with a clean cloth and let it rest for about 30 minutes.

3. After that, on a floured tablecloth, use a rolling pin to thin out the dough a little.

4. Then carefully stretch it thinly with your hands starting from the center towards the edges of the dough, moving in all directions. You’ll have to fumble around the table a bit until you stretch the dough in all directions, but it’s worth it. Stretch the dough over the entire table so that the edges hang over the sides.

5. Remove the thickened edges of the dough, then sprinkle the stretched dough with oil and gently and carefully spread it, preferably with the palms of your hands. It is coated with oil because the dough is very thin and there is a high possibility that it will dry out and break if you do not work fast enough, and the oil prevents that.

6. Now spread the filling in a thin, even layer on the prepared dough. It is best to take the filling with your fingers and spread it over the dough to avoid lumps and to make the dough evenly throughout the dough. 

7. Now, using a tablecloth, roll the dough starting from the wider side. So we roll from one side to the middle, and then from the opposite side to the middle. Of course, you can only roll the dough from one side to the end, so it looks like a strudel.

8. Now cut the thus obtained buzzard into pieces of the desired size. We do this using a small saucer. The edge of the saucer is blunt, so when you cut the dough with it, the cut shrinks by itself, i.e. it closes and the filling does not leak out.

9. Place the pieces side by side in a greased tray. So we don’t leave empty space between pieces. Put a thin sheet of butter on each piece of bučnica before baking.

10. Bake the bučnica in a preheated oven at 180-190 degrees for about 30 minutes, i.e. until it gets a nice color and is nicely crispy.

11. While it is still hot, use a sharp knife to separate the pieces, place them on a plate and serve immediately.


I use special flour for thin doughs because it is richer in gluten and therefore the dough is more elastic and pliable, so there is no problem with stretching.

Some people like to cover bučnica and štrukle with cream before baking, which is also very nice. Then the crust is soft. However, in our family, these crispy varieties are better, so we put butter before baking.

In Zagorje, bučnica is usually served after lunch, as a kind of salty dessert, followed by sweet cakes. We usually eat it for a snack or dinner, and you can also serve it as a warm appetizer.

You can also freeze it. So, put it in a tray, cover it with foil and put it in the freezer. Before baking, you do not defrost it, but just spread butter on it and bake it in a hot oven.

If you are expecting guests, you can make bučnica the day before and put it in the refrigerator. Before the guests arrive, put butter on it and put it in the oven.

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