A freshly made pacavure cooling on a wooden board

Albanian Pacavure, a New Year treat

Maysie Dee

Contributing writer

I first tasted paçavure in the Albanian city of Korce, at a little Parisian-style cafe. It was a scrumptious dessert, covered in sweet syrup, in true Albanian style. But my husband and I couldn’t figure out what gave it the amazing texture… not quite cake not really pudding, not crunchy, but somewhere in between all of that! We debated, was it made with cornflakes? With crackers? Bread?

We returned to the cafe (more than once, I might add) all in the name of discovery, of course. But try as we might, we were still stymied. The waiters had no clue, so couldn’t help to solve the mystery.

After several months of asking and describing, I finally found someone halfway across the country who knew what it was! And of course, I set out to replicate it myself.

As it happens, the secret ingredient is phyllo dough! Phyllo roll sheets are softened to room temperature and folded/scrunched, uncooked, into a baking dish. The phyllo is then covered with a sweet batter, sprinkled with chopped walnuts and after baking, the entire concoction is sliced in the pan and covered with a thick orange-flavored syrup. 

Overall, eating paçavure reminds me of feasting on American-style pancakes, when the syrup is completely absorbed into the stack, and that last bite is super-rich and juicy.

The recipe is not difficult at all to make. I later discovered that this traditional regional Albanian dessert is a speciality for New Year’s in Korce, one of Albania’s most beautiful cities. Be advised, paçavure is sweet and totally addicting!


For the cake:

  • ½ package phyllo dough
  • 1/3 heaping cup yoghurt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tsp flour
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts (use more if needed)
  • 1 tbsp butter (for dotting the top of the cake)

For the syrup:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Juice of one orange

Note : This recipe is suitable for an 8” square or round pan. For a larger dessert, use a 9x11” rectangular pan and double the ingredient amounts. In that case, you would use one full package of phyllo dough sheets.


  1. 1
    1. Bring one roll of frozen phyllo dough to room temperature. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (356F).
  2. 2
    Generously butter an 8x8 or 9” baking dish. Cut one-half of the phyllo roll into 1.5-2” slices. Separate the sliced sheets and press the pile of phyllo strips randomly into the pan, reaching all edges; press lightly with your hands to flatten into place, and dot with butter.
  3. 3
    Place in the oven and bake for 5-10 minutes until the tips of the phyllo sheets are very lightly browned.
  4. 4
    While the phyllo is baking, mix the eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl, and whisk together until well blended and smooth. Add the oil, yoghurt, flour, baking powder, salt and vanilla.
  5. 5
    Pour this mixture on top of the phyllo dough and make sure it seeps down and all around the edges, covering the phyllo completely. Sprinkle the top with the chopped walnuts.
  6. 6
    Bake for 35-40 minutes; check at 30 minutes with a toothpick, which should come out moist but not wet.
  7. 7
    While the cake is baking, make the syrup by boiling the sugar, water, vanilla and orange juice together until a syrup forms.
  8. 8
    Remove cake from oven when done and let rest for 5 minutes, then carefully slice into square or diamond shapes with a sharp knife. When the syrup is cool, gently spoon over the cake, allowing the syrup to sink fully over the cake. Make sure the syrup fully reaches the edges and covers the top. Let the cake rest overnight to fully absorb the syrup. Serve cold or at room temperature. 

Optional substitions: You can also add ½ teaspoon of cinnamon to the batter, and include one or two cinnamon sticks when boiling the syrup.

The recipe is usually made with white sugar, for both the cake and the syrup, but I also tried it with turbinado sugar which was delicious, too!

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Maysie Dee

Author - Maysie Dee

Maysie Dee is a freelance writer, content editor, and recipe creator. She and her husband have travelled across the world for decades as natural product consultants, collecting stories along the way.

Last Updated 14 February 2024

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