Balkan Tulumbe Pastries Recipe

Balkan tulumbe pastries

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Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 50 mins
Servings: 12 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
601 Calories
14g Fat
116g Carbs
5g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 601
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14g 18%
Saturated Fat 8g 40%
Cholesterol 123mg 41%
Sodium 131mg 6%
Total Carbohydrate 116g 42%
Dietary Fiber 0g 2%
Total Sugars 104g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 24mg 2%
Iron 1mg 7%
Potassium 59mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This recipe for tulumbe is a very sweet and popular dessert in the Balkans, one whose preparation dates back to the end of the 18th century, and has long been part of Ottoman cuisine. The batter is similar to a French pâte à choux dough, and the appearance is similar to an unfilled, unglazed eclair. They're also not too dissimilar from Mexican churros—except those are crispier, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, and sometimes served with a dipping sauce. But honestly, tulumbe is its own thing. The similarities typically (although not always) end there, as variations of this pastry can be found from Greece to Iran under many different names; in the latter country, they go by bamiyeh.

Tulumbe are traditionally fried and then soaked in simple syrup overnight. But they can be baked as they are here, which is definitely less messy, and comes with a lighter calorie load. Either way you make them, they are a sweet sticky treat, soft and soaked in syrup.


For the Syrup:

For the Dough:

  • 6 ounces unsalted butter

  • 1 1/2 cups water

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 6 large eggs

Steps to Make It

Make the Syrup 

  1. In a large saucepan, bring the sugar, 4 cups water, vanilla extract, and lemon juice to a boil. Reduce heat and cook down for 10 to 15 minutes.

  2. Let cool completely and then divide into two large bowls.

Make the Dough 

  1. Heat oven to 425 F. In a medium saucepan, melt butter in 1 1/2 cups water.

  2. Add flour and salt, and stir until dough forms a mass that cleans the sides of the pan.

  3. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until the batter is smooth.

Bake the Pastries

  1. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip with dough and pipe 12 (5-inch) lengths onto the prepared pan. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the tulumbe puff up and turn golden brown.

  2. Place hot tulumbe into two bowls of syrup, pushing down lightly to completely coat them. Soak overnight and serve cold the next day.

How to Store Tulumbe

Luckily, you can make these ahead of time, as they require some soaking time as part of the preparation. They'll keep for about 2 days or so at room temperature.

As you might imagine, this sweet and sticky pastry does not freeze well. It's best eaten soon after it's been made and gone completely cold.


You can flavor the syrup more strongly with vanilla extract if you like, or use a combination of vanilla and almond extracts. Lemon or orange would work here, too.