The first time I ever had Börek was when I was 14 years old. My family and I were visiting the beautiful city of Istanbul, Turkey and we couldn't get enough of the cities charm, history and amazing food. From their teas, to dessert to savory pastries, Turkish cuisine is probably one of my favorites and it all started years ago when my dad decided to take a detour on our summer family vacation. And I must say, I'm so glad he did!
Börek is a stuffed pastry from Turkey. A thin pastry called phyllo dough is stuffed with some kind of cheese, spinach or meat and baked to golden perfection with a sprinkle of sesame seeds. Very similar, if not almost the same thing as the Greek spanakopita’s. It is essentially a savory pie with beautiful, flaky, golden layers with a flavorful filling.
Here is two versions of my take on this Turkish perfection in a spiral form.
Makes 10’ Pie Plate
1 tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 White Onion (Chopped)
1 tsp Garlic/Ginger Paste
3 Green Onions (Chopped)
1/2 Bunch Parsley
1 tbsp Fresh Dill (Chopped)
15oz Bag Frozen Spinach (Chopped/Drained)
3/4 cup Feta Cheese
3/4 cup Ricotta Cheese
1/4 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
Zest of 1 Lemon
1/2 Lemon (Juiced)
Handful Pinenuts (optional)
1 tsp Nutmeg
1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
Salt/Pepper (to taste)
1 Stick (8 tbsp) Butter (Melted)
15 Phyllo dough sheets
Sesame seeds for garnish
-Heat oil in a skillet and add your chopped onions and garlic/ginger paste.
-Sauté until they are translucent and then add your green onions.
-Once they sweat remove skillet from heat and add all your herbs, spices, spinach, lemon juice/zest, cheeses and nuts.
-Mix everything to well combine.
-Grease a 10" pie dish with butter. -Roll out your Phyllo dough from packaging. -Using 3 sheets at a time, brush butter on the top sheet.
-Now add your filling at the bottom end, horizontally.
-Roll up tightly in a long cigar form.
-Now add to your greased pie plate in a spiral form.
-Continue assembling in the same manner until the tray is filled.
-Brush the top of the spiral pie with the left over butter.
-Sprinkle with sesame seeds and bake on 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 mins or until golden brown.
**Be sure to squeeze out any excess liquid from the spinach.
**If your pie plate gets full you can always put extras in another tray.
**You can always assemble the spiral pie in a foil tray, freeze, and bake for another day. Just cover with Saran Wrap then with foil to secure no freezer burn. When ready to bake DO NOT defrost. Just bake on the same temperature adding an extra few minutes to the cook time. Will last up to 3 months in the freezer if frozen correctly.
Serve this flaky goodness as a side for your next dinner party, or my favorite way...for brunch with some warm Turkish apple tea.
Make them into mini individual sizes for your next party and they are sure to be a hit!
Enjoy a cheese or olive version below:
8oz Ricotta Cheese
4 oz Feta Cheese
15 Phyllo Dough Sheets
8 to 10 Black Olives Chopped (optional)
8 oz Mozzarella (optional)
1 stick Butter
Salt/Pepper to taste
Sesame Seeds and Nigella Seeds for garnish (optional)
-Pull out your defrosted dough, and your cheeses.
-Give them a good mash to combine in a bowl and add chopped olives if desired, along with salt/pepper.
-Melt your butter and we are ready to assemble.
-Pull 3 sheets from your phyllo dough pile.
-Brush each sheet with butter and lay them on top of each other.
- Now placing your buttered sheets horizontally towards you, add some filling to the bottom long edge of your dough.
-Carefully roll the dough up to make a long log.
-Brush the log with butter and then gently roll your log into a spiral and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
-Continue the steps and keep adding your logs to the spiral made to form one large Borek or make each log into its own spiral to form individual spirals.
-If you make individual you will get 5 smaller spirals, if you make a large spiral you will get a 10" round borek.
-Brush the tops liberally with butter.
-At this point you can chill, then freeze these wrapped in saran wrap them foil to bake on another day, or prep ahead for a party.
-There is no need to defrost, just bake them frozen on a parchment lined baking sheet, adding a few extra minutes to ensure it's cooked through.
-Sprinkle tops with sesame seeds and nigella seeds if desired.
-Bake at 400'F for 30 to 40 minutes until golden brown.
Garnish these with some fresh herbs and pomegranates and enjoy them with a side of mint tea!