Byrek Me Kungull (Pumpkin Filo Pie) Recipe from Albania

Byrek Me Kungull is an Albanian filo pie stuffed with mashed pumpkin and layered with filo pastry. This adaptation of the traditional recipe adds caramelized onions, feta, herbs and lemon zest into the mix.

Byrek Me Kungull | Albanian Dishes

After successfully cooking an Afghan aushak for the first meal of our challenge, we were ready to tackle our next nation: Albania. Both of us are big fans of Mediterranean food, but we have never tried Albanian cuisine before. We were curious to see what unique dishes this country had to offer.

Interestingly, some of Albania’s dishes root all the way back to the ancient Ottoman Empire. Nowadays the influence of Greece, Italy and Turkey is evident in much of the country’s cuisine. 

Is Albanian cuisine vegetarian-friendly?

Like most European countries, meat is a staple in the majority of Albania’s traditional dishes. Thankfully, due to its Mediterranean climate, Albania also grows many vegetables. This means there are enough vegetarian-friendly options to go around!

Popular vegetarian dishes in Albania:

  • Fergese– a dish featuring red peppers, feta, tomato, onions and yogurt
  • Qifqi– rice balls filled with spinach and herbs
  • Flija– type of crepe brushed with cream and served with sour cream
  • Tarator– cold soup made of cucumber, garlic, walnut and fennel
  • Byrek– savory filo pie stuffed with filling such as cheese, spinach or pumpkin
Byrek Me Kungull | Albanian Dishes

Making Albanian Pumpkin Filo Pie (Byrek Me Kungull)

Out of all the Albanian vegetarian dishes we researched, we decided to make a Byrek, which is a pie made with. These savory dinner pies are a real favorite in Albania. Whilst it was tempting to go for the classic spinach and cheese flavour, we thought this sounded very similar to a Greek Spanakopita. Instead, we opted for a more unique option- the Byrek Me Kungal. This is essentially Albania’s take on pumpkin pie, made up of mashed pumpkin encased in filo pastry. 

Is Byrek Me Kungall a sweet or savory dish?

We are still a little unsure if this pumpkin filo pie is meant to be a sweet or savory dish. All the recipes we found said to season the mashed pumpkin with either salt or sugar… So I guess you can go either way with this dish! We opted for the savory option and added in a few fun (and definitely not traditional) elements to the pie to make it a little more exciting. 

Byrek Me Kungull | Albanian Dishes

What you’ll need to make Byrek Me Kungull

These are the ingredients we used to make our pumpkin filo pie. Traditionally, Byrek Me Kungall is filled with a simple mixture of pumpkin puree, milk, eggs and flour. However, we wanted to add some extra flavour to our filo pie, so we used the following ingredients:

  • Filo pastry– You can normally find filo (or phyllo) pastry in the frozen section of the supermarket. Make sure you allow time for it to thaw before using it for the recipe!
  • Pumpkin– We used butternut squash but you can use any variation of pumpkin.You may just need to adjust cooking times accordingly.
  • Red onion– Sub for brown onion if needed but red onion will give a sweeter, more mild flavour, especially after caramelizing.
  • Herbs– We used parsley but you can pop in any herbs you have on hand.
  • Refrigerated items– You’ll need butter, milk, an egg, ricotta & feta. for this recipe.

Steps to making Byrek Me Kungull

Byrek Me Kungull | Albanian Dishes

1. Make pumpkin mixture– Heat oven to 200C (405F) and line a baking sheet. In a bowl, cover pumpkin pieces with olive oil, cinnamon, salt and pepper then place on a baking sheet. Cook for 30 minutes, flipping halfway, until soft and golden. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk egg, ricotta and milk together in a medium bowl. Mash the cooked pumpkin into mixture.

Byrek Me Kungull | Albanian Dishes

2. Make onion & feta mixture– Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan on medium heat. Add sliced red onion and a good grind of salt. Cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft and caramelized. Take off heat and stir in herbs, feta, lemon zest, salt and pepper.

Byrek Me Kungull | Albanian Dishes

3. Compile byrek– Turn oven down to 190C (375F). Grease and line a square baking tin. Taking one sheet of filo pastry at a time, brush with butter a sprinkle with a little bit of sugar. Place into baking tin so pastry hangs over edge. Repeat with 3 more sheets, changing the direction in which you put the sheet in the tin each time to ensure even edges. Spread pumpkin mixture on top of filo, then top with onion feta mixture. Add four more sheets of filo pastry, spreading with butter and sugar each time. Fold in the overhang and scrunch as you do. Bake in oven for 25 minutes or until brown on top. Cover with foil and leave in oven for another 5 minutes to ensure pie is cooked all the way through without burning outside.

Byrek Me Kungull | Albanian Dishes

Serving Suggestions for Byrek Me Kungull

This pumpkin filo pie makes for a great lunch or snack, especially when paired with a side salad. We served up our with a salad of rocket, orange, feta, cranberries, toasted almonds and a simple olive oil dressing. This salad is not traditionally Albanian by any means, but it went really well with the dish!

Try these other street food recipes:

Byrek Me Kungull | Albanian Dishes

Albanian Pumpkin Filo Pie (Byrek Me Kungall)

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

Byrek Me Kungull is a Albanian filo pie stuffed with mashed pumpkin and layered with filo pastry. This adaptation of the traditional recipe adds caramelized onions, feta, herbs and lemon zest into the mix.

Ingredients

Pumpkin Mixture

  • 300 g pumpkin or butternut squash, cut into 2cm squares
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 200 g ricotta
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp milk

Onion & Feta Mixture

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 100g feta, crumbled
  • 1 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

Filo Layer

  • 8 sheets filo pastry, thawed
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp white sugar

Instructions

  1. Make pumpkin mixture. Heat oven to 200C (405F) and line a baking sheet. In a bowl, cover pumpkin pieces with olive oil, cinnamon, salt and pepper then place on a baking sheet. Cook for 30 minutes, flipping halfway, until soft and golden. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk egg, ricotta and milk together in a medium bowl. Mash the cooked pumpkin into mixture.
  2. Make onion & feta mixture. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan on medium heat. Add sliced red onion and a good grind of salt. Cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft and caramelized. Take off heat and stir in herbs, feta, lemon zest, salt and pepper.
  3. Turn oven down to 190C (375F). Grease and line a square baking tin.
  4. Taking one sheet of filo pastry at a time, brush with butter a sprinkle with a little bit of sugar. Place into baking tin so pastry hangs over edge. Repeat with 3 more sheets, changing the direction in which you put the sheet in the tin each time to ensure even edges. Spread pumpkin mixture on top of filo, then top with onion feta mixture. Add four more sheets of filo pastry, spreading with butter and sugar each time. Fold in the overhang and scrunch as you do.
  5. Bake in oven for 25 minutes or until brown on top. Cover with foil and leave in oven for another 5 minutes to ensure pie is cooked all the way through without burning outside.

Notes

Place filo pastry under a damp tea towel when you are not using it to prevent it from drying out.

Did you make this recipe?

Leave a comment & review below or share a photo on Instagram tagging @polkadotpassport so I can reshare your creations!

Did you make this recipe?  If you leave a review below and tag @polkadotpassport in your photos on Instagram, I would love to reshare your creations!

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Byrek Me Kungull recipe from Albania (pumpkin filo pie)
Nicola Easterby Bio Image

HEY THERE, I'M NICOLA!

I am on a mission to discover the BEST destinations & dishes from around the world. In fact, I’ve visited 54 countries and cooked 196 cuisines in this very pursuit. Whether it’s hopping on a plane or into the kitchen, come join the adventure!

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