Bourek or Borek or a variety of other spellings that seem to exist,
is a pastry made from phyllo dough filled with a variety of fillings.
It originates form Turkey.
It can be fried or baked; filled with meat, vegetables or cheese, quite often feta.
I saw this post from a wonderful blogger that I follow in Turkey,
and knew that I had to try my hand at making some.
She has the wonderful advantage of being able to buy fresh yufka or phyllo dough in her market,
here in my area I knew that wasn't going to happen.
While I briefly toyed with the idea of making my own dough,
I figured for my first attempt I'd try and locate some ready made.
We have a wonderful international market and in their freezer section they carried
Bourek Dough, simply thaw and you are ready to go!
This dough is unlike frozen phyllo that you might find in a regular supermarket.
It's very thin, tears quite easily, so you need a gentle hand with it.
You will find about 12 large sheets in the package.
This recipe is my own creation, so while likely not completely traditional,
it was incredibly delicious!
That's the fun part of cooking, you get to put your own spin on things!
1 package Bourek Phyllo dough (or as close an alternative as you can find)
1/2-1 cup of milk
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion chopped
Approx 6 cups fresh spinach, rough chopped
1/2-1 cup of fresh feta, crumbled
1 small bunch fresh dill, fronds roughly chopped
1 tsp whole cumin seeds
1 tsp dried dill
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
Nigella seeds & sesame seeds for sprinkling on top
Olive oil for sauteing
Pre heat oven to 350 degrees
In a large saute pan, heat olive oil over med/high heat.
Add onion and saute till translucent, approx 5 mins.
Add garlic, whole cumin seeds and red pepper flakes and saute 1-2 mins longer.
Add spinach in handfuls (as will fit in your pan) stirring to wilt. Keeping adding until all the spinach is added. Place lid on pan and allow to steam and finish wilting, 2-3 mins longer.
Transfer to a large bowl, allowing to cool slightly.
Then add in crumbled feta and fresh dill, stirring to combine.
Beat 1 of the eggs and add into spinach mixture.
Beat remaining eggs with milk and dried dill to form a wash for the dough.
Oil a baking pan. (I used a 9" x 13" Pyrex)
Lay 1 sheet of phyllo/bourek dough in the bottom of the pan.
(My sheets were large, so half a sheet covered my pan perfectly)
Brush approx 2-3 tsps of the egg/milk wash over the dough, then layer another sheet.
Keep repeating this process until about half of all your dough is used up, 7-10 layers.
Then spoon over all your spinach filling and spread evenly.
Continue the process of layering dough and egg wash until all your sheets are used up.
On the top, brush with egg wash and then sprinkle with nigella seeds (also known as black cumin)
and sesame seeds over the top.
Bake for approx 30-40 minutes until puffed, golden and bubbling.
Allow to cool slightly before cutting and serving.
It was delicious!!
There is a wonderful textural contrast between the crispiness of the phyllo,
the warm spinach and feta filling, which is slightly salty with just a hint of spice.
The cumin seeds add a wonderful earthy quality to the dish.
Served with a salad it's a wonderful meal on it's own.
We enjoyed what little was leftover for brunch the next morning.
So next time you want to take a trip across the world,
look no further than your own kitchen for inspiration!
* I chose to not add any added salt to my dish due to the natural saltiness of the feta, but if you prefer your foods a little saltier, you could certainly add a little salt to your spinach mixture.