Pumpkin Turnovers (Pastit or Buchi Buchi)

This is one of my most favorite desserts.  It’s a turnover filled with a sweet, cinnamon-flavored pumpkin jam.  In Chamorro, Pastit is the term for a baked turnover. Buchi Buchi is the term for fried turnovers.


Pastit ~ Baked Pumpkin Turnovers

My mom used to make this for us all the time, only she used fresh pumpkins instead of canned.  Making pumpkin jam with fresh pumpkins took hours!  However time consuming that whole process was, that’s the way to do it–fresh is always best, in my opinion.

Using canned pumpkin has its advantages.  You can make Pastit any time of year if you used canned pumpkin (provided the grocery stores have it in stock).  I remember one year when you couldn’t find a can of pumpkin anywhere!  But I digress….This dessert can be enjoyed year-round is my point; you don’t have to wait for fall to bake up a batch of these delicious treats.

My dad loves these turnovers, but his favorite filling is made with papaya–the green kind, not the ripe ones.  You really can’t make a papaya jam with the right consistency if you use ripe papayas.  In Chamorro, preparing papaya this way is called Konsetba.  Konsetba is also used to refer to candied young (green) papaya.

I do have one daughter who won’t touch this with a 10-foot pole.  It’s something about the fact that pumpkin is an ingredient and it just isn’t right eating a vegetable pie for dessert.  No matter how many times I tell her it’s technically a fruit, she won’t have it.

More for us, I say.  🙂

Give my recipe a try. I think you’ll like it!  🙂

Pumpkin Turnovers (Pastit or Buchi Buchi)

My recipe makes between 12-15 turnovers.



  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 stick butter (for especially flaky dough, use 2 sticks of butter, but freeze it prior to making your dough, and work fast so the heat from your hands doesn’t melt the butter while you handle the dough)
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup ice-cold water
  • 1/4 cup sugar


  • 1 small can pumpkin purée (do not use pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon


Make the pumpkin jam:

1.  Drain the pumpkin overnight to remove excess water; pour the contents into a fine mesh strainer, then set the strainer over a bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.  In the morning, most of the water will have drained out.  Instead of draining overnight, you can also heat the pumpkin over low heat, stirring constantly; cook until there isn’t much steam left rising from the pumpkin (an indication that most of the water has evaporated).

2.  In a separate pan, melt the sugar until browned; stir often to keep the sugar from burning.  Add the drained or heated pumpkin to the melted sugar. Add cinnamon (add more or less to taste).

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*Note: When you add the pumpkin to the melted sugar, it might SIZZLE like crazy! This is because the caramelized sugar is reacting to any remaining water in the pumpkin. When you mix the two, the sugar will actually harden and look like candy. At this point, turn your heat down to low and cover your pot; cook the pumpkin jam until all the hardened sugar has melted. Stir frequently to prevent the bottom from burning. Allow the jam to cool completely before filling the dough.

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Make the crust:

1.  Combine the dry ingredients for the crust.  Cut the butter into the flour until you get tiny bits of butter mixed with the flour.

There are several ways to do this:  you can use a pastry cutter, or if you don’t have a pastry blender, you can use two butter knives and literally cut the butter into the flour mixture.  You can also use a food processor.  Here is a neat idea I learned from a cooking show — freeze your stick of butter, then grate it using the largest holes of a box grater.  Lightly mix the grated butter into the flour then place the bowl into the freezer for a few minutes to get the butter to be really cold again before adding the water.

The thing to remember is that the butter should be as cold as possible when you do this (frozen butter is even better); having little bits of butter mixed in with the flour is key to a flaky crust.

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2.  Add cold water to the flour-butter mixture, a few spoonfuls at a time, and gently mix (or pulse in a food processor).  Stop adding water when the mixture starts to stick together and forms a dough.  How can you tell if it’s enough water?  Scoop some of the mixture into your hand then squeeze it together.  If the mixture holds its shape (no crumbs fall off), then you added enough water.  DO NOT knead the dough at this point.  You don’t want to handle the dough too much, and you most certainly want to make sure you still see bits of butter in the dough.

3.  Make golf ball sized pieces dough; use a rolling pin to flatten each ball into a thin circle.  Add 2-3 tablespoons of pumpkin filling to the center of the dough; spread the filling out to about 1/2 inch from the edge. Fold the dough over and seal edges by pressing down on it with a fork.

4.  Optional: brush the tops of the turnovers with a beaten egg then sprinkle liberally with turbinado sugar (also called sugar in the raw).

5.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.

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*For buchi buchi (a fried version), decrease the amount of butter (use only 1 stick); follow the rest of the recipe instructions.  Deep-fry each turnover until golden brown.


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  1. MARINA says:

    Hafa Adai Annie!
    Thank you or sharing the recipe. This is one of my favorite recipe during the fall season that i grew up with!!! Am a Executive Chef for a hotel chain and i make chamorro dish with my colleges at work they absolutely love.

  2. Patsy Cruz says:

    Hi Annie, some recipes on making the dough for the
    fried buchi buchi is using crisco shortening and
    coconut milk where as your recipe uses butter and
    ice water. I really want to try making this but I’m
    confused, can you tell me which one should I use?

    • I’ve actually never heard of using coconut milk to make the dough, but that’s not to say it won’t be good. Use whichever recipe you feel like trying. I can only tell you about my recipe, and that it’s is tried and true.

  3. Jenny B. says:

    Hafa Adai Annie. Dangkulu na Si Yu’us Ma’ase for sharing these wonderful recipes! Scrolling down the list and viewing the photos of the desserts brought back some amazing memories of growing up in Agat. I’ve been searching for a recipe for the pastit and wanted to know if you recommend adding cinnamon and/or nutmeg to the jam? We use Sugar in the Raw here instead of the granulated sugar. “Trying” to eat healthy. My cousin in Seattle uses fresh pumpkin when they are in season and freezes the jam in sandwich bags so that they have fresh jam to make these all year round. I believe she also roasts the pumpkin seeds, as well. Looking forward to making this and thank you again! Adios!!!

    • Hafa Adai! Yes, you can most definitely add cinnamon to the jam as it cooks. I often do that myself. I’ve never tried adding nutmeg to it, but if it’s a flavor you like, by all means add it. I’m sure it’ll be great!

  4. Rosaline Cruz-Rine says:

    Hi Annie!!! Thank-you so much for sharing our Chamorro foods with us that may not be on Guam!! I have been asking my Mom how to make the “pumpkin turnovers” for so many years, and was afraid to try it until seeing your recipe!! I used pre-made crust because of time, but the recipe for the Pumpkin Jam was perfect!!! My Haoli husband loves it and so do two of my half-breed chidren!! I will be serving the turnovers at Thanksgiving!!

    • Hafa Adai! I’m so happy you finally are able to enjoy some turnovers! Aren’t they yummy? I made some for thanksgiving too…I made up a triple batch and froze them (unbaked). They can be baked frozen. Happy thanksgiving to you and your family!

  5. Sue Cruz says:

    Thank you Annie for sharing your wonderful recipes. I tried your pastit recipe yesterday. This is my first time ever attempting these! I followed your recipe exactly. Mine were not very visually appealing but they sure were delicious!!

  6. Dee Penaflor says:

    Thanks for sharing your recipes. I am in search of the recipe for the fresh homemade pumpkin filling. Would you by any chance have it?

    • To use fresh pumpkin, cut into cubes and add a small amount of water. Cook until the pumpkin is softened. Then prepare your jam as directed in my recipe.

    • Estella C Simion says:

      Can we freeze these turnover and cook it when we are ready to eat it.

      • You sure can! First, freeze the turnovers on a baking sheet, then transfer them into a freezer bag. When ready to serve, no need to thaw them. Simply arrange the pies on a baking sheet with parchment paper, brush with an egg wash or some heavy cream (optional) and bake in a preheated oven.

  7. Nicole says:

    Im not sure if you had stated this but is one 15oz can enough? Or should I go with a bigger size?

  8. JassyGal says:

    can you tell me the recipe to make the filling with real pumpkin? thanks.

    • My recipe does use real pumpkin, but the canned version. Are you asking about fresh pumpkin? For that, peel/seed the pumpkin, cut into small cubes, and steam or cook on the stovetop until softened. Mash the cooked pumpkin and cook as my recipe directs.

  9. Frances cruz says:

    Annie, I bake the pastit today and am very happy that your recipe is a awesome,, I will treasure this recipe forever. Thank you so much for sharing,

  10. Janice says:

    What is the texture of the finished pastry? Is it fall apart flaky or flaky slightly chewy?

  11. alujan says:

    Annie, this is the second recipe I’ve made of yours, the first is the dinner rolls. Thank you so much, it’s very easy and simple to follow. The pastil is a lot of work but delicious. What type of blade do you use for the food processor? Would love to use the processor but am not confident in doing so.

    • Thanks for giving my recipes a try! I’m glad to hear they turned out well for you. As for the type of food processor blade, I use the “regular” blade (the plastic one is best for bread dough, not pastry/pie dough). Process the dry ingredients with the butter just until you can see small clumps of butter. STOP processing at this point; dump out the mixture into a large mixing bowl and sprinkle the ice water over it, using a fork to mix until the dough just holds together. To tell if it’s enough water, grab a handful of dough and squeeze–if the dough stays together, you’ve added enough water and mixed the dough enough. Form the dough into a disc, wrap with plastic wrap, then chill for a few hours before rolling. This will ensure you have a flaky crust.

    • alujan says:

      Annie, can I make the dough overnight and use the next day. Also on the dinner rolls, can I also prepare the dough the night before, refrigerate and let rise the next day?

      • Yes to both. For the pastry (pie/turnover) dough, wrap it tightly with plastic wrap then refrigerate. For the dinner rolls, form the rolls after the first rising then either freeze or refrigerate. If refrigerating, the dough will continue to rise in the cold temp of the fridge, but at a very slow rate. Prior to baking, take the pan out of the fridge to continue to rise at room temperature; bake when the rolls doubled in size. If freezing, let the dough thaw at room temperature. The rolls will rise as they thaw.

  12. Angie says:

    Thank you for sharing your recipes! I have tried several other recipes for pastit and was not pleased with outcome. I tried yours for the first time and have been making it every since!! I love how you really explain the steps and ingredients. I was always apprehensive about making pastry dough, but you have helped me become confident! Thank you and I truly appreciate your ability to share your knowledge with all of us!!

    • Hi Angie! You’re very welcome! I’m so happy to hear you like my recipe, and that ,y instructions were helpful. Please share some photos of your Pastit the next time you make some; I’d love to see them! You can post photos in the comments or you can share them on my Facebook page. Stop by again soon!

  13. Pauline Gato says:

    Looks good

  14. Sue Taylor says:

    Yummy! We lived on Guam for 11+ years and loved these. We haven’t had them for 7 years and these are great. They taste just like we remember. Thank you for sharing your recipe.

  15. Martha says:

    I want to try this recipe. When your going to bake it, What temperature do you set your oven and for how long.

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