Börek: Guest Recipe By Deniz Bevan
I’ve invited some of my writer pals to drop by from time to time with guest posts. This recipe for Börek is being shared by my pal Deniz Bevan. Now according to Wikipedia,
Börek (also burek and other variants) is a family of baked or fried filled pastries made of a thin flaky dough known as yufka (or phyllo). It can be filled with cheese, often feta, sirene or kaşar; minced meat, or vegetables. Most probably invented in what is now Modern Turkey, in the Anatolian Provinces of the Ottoman Empire in its early era, to become a popular element of Ottoman cuisine.
Let’s give Deniz a warm P & P welcome!
The recipe below is for the cheese version, but it can be made with meat or spinach (the latter is called spanakopita in Greek). I first learned to make this by watching my grandmother, then my mother, and I love pulling out that stained recipe card, even though I’ve memorised the directions by now.
The recipe will make about two palm sized squares for ten people – more or less depending on how large you cut it!
- a glug of vegetable oil
- 1 beaten egg
- 250mL milk (just over 1 cup)
- 1 box phyllo dough (defrosted if using frozen) (the boxes of phyllo dough I buy come with 8 sheets; my two pans are small (9″ by 12″) so I cut the 8 sheets in half, leaving 8 sheets per pan, which I fold over.)
- 250g (a bit over 8 ounces) Turkish or Bulgarian white cheese (it looks like feta might be a good substitute for this)
- handful of parsley, finely diced
- Mix the vegetable oil, egg, and milk, and set aside (include a baking brush) (if you find yourself running out, you can always add a bit more milk)
- Mix the cheese and parsley and set aside (include a spoon)
- Lightly oil the bottom of the pan. Lay the first sheet of dough in the pan and brush gently with the oil-egg-milk mixture. Repeat with half the remaining sheets.
- Spread the cheese-parsley mixture across the top sheet.
- Cover with another sheet, and once more brush with the oil-egg-milk mixture.
- Repeat with all remaining sheets. Brush any remaining mixture over the top.
- Let sit for up to half an hour and bake at 350F for 30-35 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
There are variations involving ground beef or potatoes or spinach; any börek goes well with summer fruits such as watermelons, and can be served with beer or wine or tea.
Unless you’d like to have it with coffee, which I mention only to ask, has anyone else noticed Charlie’s mug on Two and a Half Men? His coffee mug, that is. He always uses the same one, there’s always fresh coffee in the pot, and when he’s not drinking alcohol, he’s sipping coffee. Yum yum!
Author of historical and fantasy Middle Grade and Young Adult novels, and Historical Romance including the latest: THE FACE OF A LION (querying) and OUT OF THE WATER (editing)