Mmmmm Borek! Any time, any place. There is a serious lack of it in West London, better make my own.
Borek is found all over the Med where it is a regular feature both at home, and on the street in various shapes and forms.
I learnt the art of borek making during my stay in Kosovo, where these delicious pies are made in large round baking tins.
As with all pastry dishes, it is ideal to work as quickly as possible so the pastry doesn’t dry out – a damp dishcloth handy to cover pastry not being used is a solution for less experienced cooks.
Borek can be made with various fillings such as onions, pumpkin or minced meat. Here is my favourite;
This recipe serves 8 – 10
300g White Cheese – crumbled. Feta or Peynir will do.
1 Beaten egg
1 tbsp. Olive Oil
1 KG Spinach – Stalks trimmed and shredded
Preparation: Wilt the spinach and leave for an hour to cool and drain. Squeeze out water then mix with all remaining ingredients.
4 cups 00 grade flour (Mediterranean brands all work well for this)
1/2 tbsp. salt
Water at room temp
Extra flour for dusting
Mix together flour, salt and water to form dough.
Kneed for 10 minutes to activate the flour’s elastic property – elasticity is the key to successful filo / yufka pastry!
Divide the mixture in half, then each half into six. Kneed these until they are perfectly formed and equally sized balls.
Roll each out into saucer sized circles making sure to keep your rolling pin well floured.
Brush each with oil and lay each on top of the next. Pick up and press together all around the sides then lay into greased baking tray – this is yur base.
Spread filling on as evenly as possible.
Repeat this process to make your pie lid and lay on top pressing down sides to make sure there are no pockets of air. Trim excess edges, then using your fingers pleat the edges by pinching and gentle twisting all around the outer edge of the pie.
Brush with oil, then make a few small incisions with a sharp knife to let out air whilst cooking.
Bake on a medium heat until golden brown. Byrek is best at room temperature.
Although making your own pastry is hard work, it’s a labour of love with tasty and satisfying results making it worth the effort. Supermarkets sell ready made filo and yufka dough, but go for Greek or Turkish brands rather than supermarket’s own brands.