Macedonian Pastry Shop: Tulumbi

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3 Tulumbi log-shaped Macedonian pastries on a plate dusted with powdered sugar

 

Before I continue with today’s post, I would just like to show you a picture of our weekend that was filled with fun, music, food, and love. Lots of love. And it was one of the reasons why I was missing from the blogging world for a couple of days; My daughter, Ana, was one of eight flower girls at my best friend’s wedding!

A bride with another adult female and a baby flower girl posing for a photo 

The beautiful bride, me, and Ana

Congratulations Julie and Riste! I wish you a lifetime of happiness, health, and lots of kids! I love you!

Onto the Tulumbi (Two-loom-bee)!

A bite of Tulumbi pastry on a fork 

A Macedonian Pastry Shop, or a Слаткарница – Slatkarnica (Slaht-car-knee-tsa), is a spot for, first and foremost, excellent sweets, then a great cup of espresso or cappuccino, accented with a yuppy decor, good looking chairs, sofas, and a delicious conversation.

The front of a Macedonian bakery with tables and chairs out frontThis is my favorite Pastry Shop/Cafe in my hometown of Bitola, Macedonia.

photo credit

Moreover, a Macedonian Pastry Shop does not serve just Macedonian pastries; you can find a variety of delicious sweets, from tiramisu to eclairs and macarons, to baklava and ravanija.

Even though we Macedonians make use of the great variety of fruits, nuts, and spices that are cropped all over the country to prepare our traditional desserts, there are also desserts that are produced in Macedonia but are typical to all the countries from the Balkans and beyond. Such a dessert is the tulumba, which is believed to have Turkish origins.

Three oblong Tulumbi pastries stacked up on a plate 

Tulumbi are one of the most sought out for desserts that can be found inside of the fridge at any local pastry shop in Macedonia. This is a delicate pastry dough which is dropped into hot oil, soaked in a sugar syrup, and enjoyed with a cup of coffee or tea.

To keep it light, I do not fry the tulumbi; mine are baked. There is a slight difference in texture (no crunch :(), but for the sake of healthy eating, some things have to be compromised. The good news is that the delicious taste is still there.

And I should tell you that my mother just about murdered me when she saw that I baked the tolumbi. She was beside herself, “How dare you mess with the classics… Tulumbi are always fried!”, was her response. Oops…

Three log-shaped Tulumbi pastries on a plate dusted with powdered sugar 

Tulumbi

You will need:

  • 1 1/2 cups of water
  • 1 cup of oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 cups of AP flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 4 eggs

For the Syrup:

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 slices of lemon

A bite of Tulumbi pastry on a fork 

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375.
  • Mix the flour and baking powder together, set aside.
  • Mix the water, sugar, oil and salt in a saucepan, bring to a boil.
  • Add in the flour mixture and mix well with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes away from the sides of the saucepan.

Tulumbi pastry dough in a saucepan with a wooden spoon 

  • Transfer the mixture into another bowl and allow to cool.
  • Add the eggs one at a time to the cooled mixture.
  • Place portions of the mixture in a piping bag with a wide star shaped tip.

A large and small star shaped pastry decorating tip 

  • Pipe out the mixture onto a baking sheet, each cookie should be about 4 inches long.

Tulumbi pastry dough piped into log shapes on a baking sheet 

  • Bake for 20 minutes or until light golden brown.

In the meantime prepare the syrup.

  • In a medium saucepan combine sugar, water, and lemon slices.
  • Bring to a boil, stirring, until sugar has dissolved.
  • Allow to completely cool.
  • Place cooled syrup in a deep bowl.
  • Place the cooked tulumbi into the syrup and let them sit in there for 30 minutes.
  • Remove tulumbi from the syrup and drain.
  • Place on a plate and serve.

A bite of Tulumbi pastry on a fork 

Fried Tulumbi:

  • Pipe the mixture into a saucepan containing hot oil, cutting the tolumbi to about 4 inches.
  • Cook until golden in color.
  • Cook 4 to 5 tulumbi at a time depending on the size of the saucepan.
  • Place the tulumbi into the cooled simple syrup and let sit for 30 minutes.

Three Tulumbi pastries on a plate dusted with powdered sugar 

49 Responses
  1. Sneza Nolen

    What a great idea to bake them. I LOVE tulumbi. But imagine my surprise when I went to check out your recipe and found a picture of you, your daughter (too cute) and my cousin! What a small world!

  2. Sneza Nolen

    Great idea baking them. I LOVE tulumbi, but imagine my surprise when I go to check out your recipe and see the picture of you, your daughter (too cute) and my cousin! It’s such a small world!

  3. The Mom Chef ~ Taking on Magazines One Recipe at a Time

    I had to smile at your mom’s reaction when she saw that you baked the tolumbi. That’s so typical. I don’t know that this dish is Turkish because I’ve not heard of it through Armenia but have in Lebanon. I don’t know.

  4. Claudia

    Thanks for introducing me to a new pastry – they look exquisite. I love your mother’s reaction to messing with the classics! They get over it! Your tolumbi just invite.

  5. A little bit of everything

    your girl is so precious. lovely photo. congrats to the happy couple.

    the tolumbi look delicious. we have something similar but without the syrup.
    thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe Kate, hope you’ll have a great day

  6. the constant hunger

    Wonderful recipe. Thanks for introducing me to a new dessert. And your daughter is just too cute. And you look beautiful in the picture!

  7. Firefly

    I haven’t had Tulumbe in a while. I’ll have to make them soon. I love foods from my childhood.
    Love the pictures, and congrats to the happy couple. And your daughter is adorable 🙂

  8. Kim - Liv Life

    1st, What a beautiful picture of the bride! And we would like to add our congratulations to the bride and groom to the others.
    2nd, thank you for the phonetic pronunciations!! I think I got it!
    3rd… a sweet soaked in sugar syrup…. oh my!!!

  9. mywanderingspoon

    Beautiful post, your daughter is so cute. Svadba looks so festive ….lovely event and tulumbe , o my love those…didn’t have them for a while. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  10. In Katrina's Kitchen

    First let me just say that I think your daughter stole the show!! So cute! 🙂 Congrats to your best friend!

    Second – these look amazing and I want one!

    Third – did you happen to buy any of that amazing vanilla that I’m jealous about this weekend?! LOL! ♥- Katrina

  11. lemonsandanchovies

    Congrats on your best friend’s wedding–all three of you looked beautiful in the picture. 🙂

    I’m loving the tolumbi. Since I’ve never had the fried kind, I think I’d really like the baked ones, too, especially since they’re healthier. Thanks for introducing me to a new treat! 🙂

  12. Kimmy

    What a beautiful bride and flower girl! 🙂 The pastry looks like a must-make, you can’t go wrong with a lemon syrup smothering dough!

  13. Mina @ Angellove's Cooking

    Mmm – I love Толумби soooo much – and yours look so stunning!!

    You gils look so beautiful!! And Ana is gorgeous!!!! 🙂

  14. Celia

    Congrats to your friend, and thanks for sharing this recipe and your cafe memories! I love when you write about Macedonian culture – I’ve spent time in Greece and there are so many interesting similarities and differences…

  15. Lori

    Love the look of these little pastries!! I bet they are fabulous! I wonder though, if perhaps a spritz of oil or a brush with melted butter would give them a bit of the crispiness you wanted….just thinking. I like that you baked them. They’ll go so well as dessert after I have pretzel bites for dinner! 😉

  16. Melissa@EyesBigger

    oooo these look so delicious. They remind me of churros or a honey krueller with their texture, both of which I adore. Loved your mom’s comment! lol.

  17. Hester aka The Chef Doc

    Oh, my dear, you are killing me! These look splendid! I don’t think I’ve ever had anything Macedonian. These are intriguing! I’m adding them to my list of things to make during Spring Quarter as I’ll be a part-time student then… for the first time ever in my life. And what do you know, it’s my last quarter, too, lol.

  18. 5 Star Foodie

    Wow, so scrumptious – I absolutely need to try these delightful looking pastries! Congrats to your friend, your daughter is so adorable!

  19. Nisrine, Dinners & Dreams

    This looks like a dessert I used to eat in Morocco. I enjoyed this post because I don’t know much about Macedonia or its food. Your daughter is precious.

  20. Mateja

    I first ate this deliciosness while living in Jordan. There they are called “Karabij Halab”, the only difference is that there is no eggs or baking powder in the dough and they are always fried then soaked in thick sugar syrup called “qatar”. Love it, thank you for sharing 🙂

    1. Kate @ Diethood.com

      Oh thank you so much for sharing that! I would love to make these without the eggs! I’ll give them a shot next time around.

  21. Priscilla - She's Cookin'

    Life interferes with blogging sometimes! Congrats to your BFF and her new hubby! Your Tolumbi looks absolutely divine – and I appreciate that it’s as delicious baked as it is fried 🙂

  22. happywhennothungry

    I’ve never had Tolumbi but it looks so amazing! I’m glad you had a wonderful weekend. Your daughter is so precious too!

  23. Sandra

    Oh my goodness..I haven’t had tulumbe in yearssss..Thanks for sharing one more childhood favorite dessert! Looks fantastic!

    You girls look stunning, and your little angel is so cute!

  24. Cheryl and Adam

    As much as we’ve roamed the world, we’ve never had anything like this. How delicious they look! Love it when we find a new pastry, can’t wait to try it!

  25. Sandra

    These would last about an hour at my house. First time out I’d have to fry them. Hello cholesterol medication! They look awesome Kate and your little girl is adorable.

  26. Liz

    Oh, wow…this sounds like an eclair with a lemon syrup…delish!!!! Congrats to your best girlfriend…what a fun weekend for your family!

  27. lil @ sweetsbysillianah

    i’ve never heard of tolumbi but these look delightful…the texture inside reminds me of lemon bars (which i also have not tried yet) – nice and creamy!

    congrats to your best friend- wow, 8 flower girls! i thought my 3 was a lot…. =P

  28. Jenné @ Sweet Potato Soul

    Yummy, these look so delicate and delicious! They do look like soft churros, but so much healthier I’m sure : )

  29. Amy Bakes Everything

    These sound just wonderful! Kind of like churros – super yummy, and I would throw healthy into the wind and totally fry them!

  30. Tim F

    These look amazingly delicious! I will have to admit though that when I use your recipe I will be taking the fat kid version and deep frying them 🙂 Thanks for the post, I will be trying these soon.

  31. Nikk

    Thank you very much for this wonderful recipe. It has got my attention because I am always after recipes that do not have butter among their ingredients, and that’s hard to find! These look lovely, and I guess they must have a delicate taste. Thanks, again!

    Best,
    Nikk

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