Macedonian Pastry Shop: Tulumbi

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!

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 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.

This 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.

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…


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


  • 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.

  • 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.

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

  • 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.

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.

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. 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.

  4. 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 🙂

  5. 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!!!

  6. 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

  7. 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! 🙂

  8. 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…

  9. 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! 😉

  10. 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.

  11. 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 🙂

  12. 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!

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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!


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I'm a cookie-maker & picture-taker! For me, eating is a moment to share, an enjoyment, a passion. I hope you enjoy my recipes!
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