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Improve Your Turkish Cuisine Skills With Cheese & Parsley Börek March 8, 2010

Posted by Deniz Olcay in Turkish Dishes.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

As you may or may not know, I am Turkish, and in love with Turkish cuisine. I strongly believe that my mother and father’s home cooking of the infinitely diverse Turkish cuisine, is what gave me the palate and love I have for International foods today. If you are unaware of Turkish cuisine, and want to find out more, I encourage you to watch Anthony Bourdain’s newest No Reservations episode, Istanbul.

One of my all time favorite dishes, is called “Börek“. You may have heard it referred to as “Spanakopita” in Greek cuisine, which is essentially the same thing. You can get creative with the filling for this dish, and include anything you like. Some use spinach, some use dill, potatoes and cheese, some use beef and onions. It’s totally up to you.

You will need
Pastry Leaves or Thin Phylo Pastry or “Yufka” (can be found at specialty middle eastern stores)
300 grams of white turkish cheese, or feta
200 grams of kasar cheese or sharp cheddar
3 tablespoons of plain yogurt
1.5 cups of milk
2 eggs
225 grams of margarine or vegetable oil
Half a bunch of fresh parsley
Black caraway seeds

1. Melt the 225 grams of margarine in a small pot over very low heat

2. While the margarine is melting, grease a large pyrex dish with some of the margarine

3. Put the 3 tablespoons of yogurt in a small bowl and mix in  some of the milk in the bowl, making sure the mixture becomes homogeneous

4. Pour in the 1.5 cups of milk into a different bowl and crack the 2 eggs into it. Whisk until mixed, and slowly pour in the yogurt milk mixture

5. Allow the margarine to cool, but not harden. Then slowly mix the melted margarine with the yogurt, milk, egg mixture. If you do not allow the margarine to cool, it will cook the egg and it will be a disaster!

6. Chop the parsley

7. Crumble the feta cheese and grate the cheddar cheese into a different bowl, and put in the chopped parsley

8. Place one pastry leaf as the bottom layer of your borek, making sure it does not tear!

9. Take a large serving spoon and pour 2 spoons of the egg/milk/yogurt/margarine mixture over the pastry leaf. Do this for every layer of pastry you have. Make sure each layer is generously soaked with the mixture. Try not to have big puddles of the mixture

10. Crumple up another leaf of pastry and repeat the process of pouring 2 serving spoons of the mixture. The purpose of crumpling up the pastry is to make it flexible and give the borek a nice wavy look when it is cooked

11. After you have 2 layers at the bottom, pour half the cheese/parsley mixture into the pyrex dish

12. Make another layer of pastry, and pour the rest of the cheese/ parsley mixture into the dish. Make sure you are still pouring the egg/milk/margarine mixture on every layer!

13. Close up the pastry leaves you used for the very bottom layer, and pour your final 2 spoons of egg/margarine/milk mixture on the top layer. Decorate with some Caraway seeds. Place in the fridge for at least an hour so the pastry leaves can absorb the liquids.

14. Preheat the oven to 400F and place the dish into the oven. Let it cook for 30 minutes, and make sure the top is nice and golden. If not, then place on broil for 2-3 minutes, while checking to make sure it doesn’t burn. Allow the borek to cool a little before cutting it into squares! Enjoy!


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