Bourekas Recipe

A boureka recipe is all about the fillings, since the wrappers are predetermined. You’ll want filo or puff pastry. The former is arguably more traditional, the latter is arguably more popular. I’ll go with puff pastry since I make it at home and usually have some hanging around in the freezer. The essential point here is that you want something flaky, since that’s really the defining feature of this sort of pie. Any of these fillings will stuff about a pound of wrapper. Speaking of which, you’ll need:

16 ounces puff pastry
egg wash
sesame seeds for sprinkling

To make the pies, preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Roll out your dough to a sheet roughly twelve inches by twelve inches, then use a pizza cutter to cut the sheet — tic-tac-toe — into nine pieces. Place dollops of filling in the center of each. Paint egg wash along the edges of the squares and fold them, corner-to-corner, to make triangular pies, and crimp to seal.

Lay the pies out onto a parchment-lined sheet pan, and paint the tops with egg wash before sprinkling on the sesame seeds. Bake them for 25-30 minutes until puffed and golden. Makes 9 medium-sized bourekas.

Potato Filling

4 ounces sliced onion (about one medium onion)
1.5 tablespoons olive oil
12 ounces Yukon gold potatoes, cut into cubes
3-4 sprigs parsley, finely chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon cumin (optional)

Place the cubed potatoes into a medium saucepan and cover them with water. Bring to a boil (but not too high a boil) and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Strain the potatoes and allow them to cool.

Meanwhile, caramelize the onions. Place the sliced or chopped onion in a sauté pan and add the oil. Cook over medium heat for 5-7 minutes until the onions are sizzling, then reduce the heat to low, stirring occasionally until the onions are a deep golden brown, about another 20 minutes.

Mash the cooled potatoes in a bowl, add the onions, the parsley, the lightly beaten egg, salt and pepper, and cumin if you’re using it.

Cheese Filling

4 ounces crumbled feta
3 ounces grated provolone
4 ounces ricotta
1 egg, lightly beaten
Pepper
Salt (if needed)

Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl and you are ready to fill!

Meat Filling

1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 small onion, chopped fine
1 clove garlic, minced
6 ounces ground beef
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon teaspoon allspice
Salt & fresh ground black pepper to taste

Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat and add the oil. When it’s shimmering, add the garlic. Cook for about 15 seconds, then add the onion. Sauté the mixture until translucent, about 5-7 minutes, then add the beef, pine nuts, spices, salt & pepper. Cook until the meat loses its raw look, then remove the pan from the heat. Strain any excess fat from the pan. Allow the mixture to cool before filling your bourekas.

6 thoughts on “Bourekas Recipe”

  1. About that wrapper being pre-determined: Not exactly.
    I remember two basic types of borekas from the time I lived in Jerusalem. There were the borekas with the puff-type pastry, light and flaky and wonderful. (Although please note that in Israel borekas, unless they are filled with cheese, are usually pareve. This means they contain neither dairy nor meat products. So I don’t know what they’re making the dough with, but it ain’t butter.)

    Then there were what we called “Sephardi” borekas. The dough for these was much more dense than the puff pastry borekas, not flaky at all. They were usually in a half-moon shape, whereas the other ones were square or rectangular. And they were also delicious. In fact, I eventually came to prefer them. I don’t know if these different types of borekas (plural? singular? In Hebrew I think the plural would be “borekasim”) exist elsewhere or what they’re called elsewhere. But there are at least these two very different types of dough for borekas. Maybe there are even more. Your readers will tell you!

    1. Thanks Chana!

      This jibes more or less with what I’ve found out about borekas. To answer your question, I believe the pareve borekas are made with margarine. And the Sephardi variety, or so I understand, are the more Turkish style, using more of a filo type dough. As for shapes there are regulations in Israel that dictate those, but I need to do a little more research!

      Thanks as always!

      – Joe

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