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August 27, 2010 / Liza

Pumpkin Filas

First off, I just want to say that this post is dedicated to my grandmother and my mother and the wonderful culinary heritage from their side of my family which is filled with delicious food made with so much love.

I am Jewish, and my religion is a big part of who I am. You may or may not know that Jews can be grouped into 2 groups based on where their roots are from– these groups are called “Ashkenazic” and “Sephardic.”

Ashkenazic Jews originate from Eastern Europe while Sephardic Jews originate from Spain.

I am so fortunate so have one of each kind for parents! Both cultures are so rich in tradition, language, and of course, food.

My mother’s side of the family is Sephardic– my great-grandparents came to the states from Turkey and Rhodes (an island of Greece). Thus, many of the foods have Greek and Meditteranean influences.

(PS I am saving a very special post for another time about a food tradition from my other grandmother.)

You may know that the Jewish new year is coming up in about 2 weeks and seeing as I am going back to college on Thursday, my mom and I decided that today, we would bake one of my grandmother’s and great-grandmother’s special recipes for the new year — pumpkin filas.

Okay, now the pictures start. 🙂

(Note: I’m giving you the single recipe, but we always double it because we do a lot of entertaining during the holidays and bring them to various lunches or dinners we have at friends houses. A single recipe will easily give you probably 100 or more little fila guys :).)

These are really easy, I promise! Just a little time consuming– but SO worth it. 🙂

Oooookay, so– first, mix 1 can pumpkin, 1 egg, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.

Now, the filo dough (which must be defrosted already if you had been keepin’ it in the freezer). Filo dough can be very temperamental — it doesn’t like to be dry, so when you take one roll of dough out of the package (you will need 2 rolls, which make up one package) you must take very good care of it. Maybe call it your filo baby. 🙂

For the dough that isn’t being used at the moment, we cover with a lightly lightly damp towel.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees, then get a little bowl and pour some vegetable oil in it. Get another little bowl and beat one egg in it and stick a brush in it. And then take some sesame seeds and put ’em in a bowl or if you have sesame seeds in a shaker, that’s great too.

Okay, now we get to work! 🙂

Take one thin sheet of filo dough and lay it out– we like to use a wooden cutting board. Then lightly spray it with cooking spray and lay another thin sheet right on top. (And cover the other sheets of dough!)

Next, cut your filo dough into strips about 1.25-1.5 inches wide. And then, plop a bit of pumpkin mixture onto one end of each strip. Like so!

Okay, now one at a time, fold your soon-to-be-filas into triangles like this…

Make sure the corners are tight but not too tight– they will want to puff up in the oven. Fold them until you get all the way to the top…

At this point, dip a finger into the oil and dab a drop on the end of the fila to keep that last bit of filo dough attached to the fila– kinda like glue. Then, place your first little bite of joy on a cookie sheet.

Continue folding the rest of your filas and when you’ve finished those two sheets of dough, repeat the process with the next two sheets! etc.

Once you’ve filled one cookie sheet (you will probably make about 6 cookie sheet’s worth) brush your filas with your egg wash and sprinkle them with sesame seeds. They’ll look a little something like this:

Into the oven they go! So, I think our oven is really bad, or maybe it wasn’t preheated all the way, but each cookie sheet of these took less and less time as we went. To be safe, I’ll say they’ll take somewhere between 9 and 13 minutes to bake depending on your oven.

Once they’re done, they will be the cutest little fila guys you ever did see…

And the most delicious!

These are SO yummy. 🙂 One of my favorite family recipes.

We serve them as an appetizer but you could ’em whenever! And pumpkin+ cinnamon is just one of the best fall food combos ever!

Enjoy! 🙂

And happy weekend!



Leave a Comment
  1. Virginia Israel (Grandma) / Aug 27 2010 7:30 pm

    Hi Lize, It ‘s a fact. You are not only a pro baker, you are a pro at writing explicit recipes and, of course, a pro photographer. Lize, I don’t know how you did it – you have the ability to listen and retain directions perfectly and that’s why you are able to produce what you do. Your filas look good enought to eat right off the screen, truly. If you want an honest comment from me, the only thing I do differently than you is I don’t spray each layer of fila I drizzle a little oil from a teaspon on to the fila. Now, they say the older folks can always learn from the younger folks and I guess they are right because the next time I work with fila I will use my friendly PAM can and spray. What a great idea. Instead of a lot of little blobs of oil here and there you give them an even spray. Love it!!!! Liza, you are a joy and an inspiration to other young women. Love you a whole bunch. Grandma

  2. SheFit / Aug 28 2010 10:29 am

    YUM! These look delicious. Thanks for sharing the recipe

  3. Kristen @ That Hoosier Girl / Aug 28 2010 4:03 pm

    That recipe looks so good! I love the unique history behind it! Now if only I could find some pumpkin back in the stores….

    • Jessica@tastyandtrim / Aug 29 2010 10:09 am

      I found some at Whole Foods! They are charging $2.99 per can by me in chicago, but at least they have it 🙂

    • Liza / Aug 29 2010 5:55 pm

      Thanks, Kristen!!! 🙂

  4. Jessica@tastyandtrim / Aug 29 2010 10:08 am

    Those little cuties look delicious! It’s so sweet of you to share the recipe with us all 🙂

    • Liza / Aug 29 2010 5:54 pm

      Thanks for stoppin’ by, Jessica! I’m glad you like the recipe!

  5. Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin / Aug 29 2010 11:13 am

    These look so good! I love anything with pumpkin in it! 😀

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