Greek Recipes

Greek and Cypriot recipes

Pumpkin Crescents – Recipe for Sweet Pumpkin Pastries

There are many versions of these little pumpkin filled pastries. In Cyprus, they are called kolokotes (koh-loh-koh-TES). Other parts of Greece call thembourekia (boo-REH-kyah).

The traditional dough for this recipe is made with olive oil and would be appropriate to eat during fasting periods.

I have adapted the recipe and use a sweeter dough that includes butter and Greek yogurt which unfortunately would not be Lenten approved.

Pumpkin Crescents - Recipe for Sweet Pumpkin Pastries

Pumpkin Crescents – Recipe for Sweet Pumpkin Pastries

Prep Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours

Yield: About 30 crescents


  • For the filling:
  • 2 cups (liquid measure) pumpkin puree (see note)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup uncooked bulgur wheat (absorbs excess moisture)
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • For the dough:
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt, strained
  • 2 1/2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1 egg, beaten with a splash of water
  • powdered sugar for serving


Note: If using fresh pumpkin, roasting the pumpkin produces the sweetest results. A pound of fresh pumpkin will yield about a cup of puree. If using canned puree, strain the pumpkin in a strainer lined with cheesecloth.

To make pumpkin puree: Clean out the pumpkin strings and seeds, slice pumpkin into large wedges and roast on a sheet pan in a preheated 400-degree oven for about 45 minutes. Allow the pumpkin to cool slightly and then remove the skin with a sharp knife.

Cube the pumpkin flesh and place in a food mill or food processor to puree. Strain the puree for about 15 minutes in a strainer lined with cheesecloth to extract most of the water.

Make the filling: Combine the filling ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix well. The filling will taste better if allowed to chill in the refrigerator for an hour or so.

Prepare the dough:

  • Add the flour to the work bowl of a food processor. Sprinkle the butter pieces on top and pulse the machine until the butter and flour are combined and resemble moist sand. Add the Greek yogurt and process until the dough comes together in a ball.
  • Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured surface. Knead lightly with floured hands until smooth and elastic. Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes.
  • (If you don’t have a food processor, you can cut the butter into the flour using a pastry cutter and then mix in the yogurt by hand.)
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Pinch off balls of dough about the size of a walnut. Press out circles of dough to about 4 inches in diameter. Place a spoonful of filling in the center and fold the dough over to form a half moon. Crimp the edges of the dough with the tines of a fork or press together with your fingers.
  • Lightly grease a baking sheet with butter or olive oil. Brush the top of the pastries with the beaten egg. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for approximately 30 minutes or until nicely golden.
  • When the crescents have cooled a bit, you can dust them with powdered sugar for serving.

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