I don’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t know what a börek was. It has always been a natural part of my life, because it is the most common thing in Turkish cuisine. There are many, and I mean many, variations, with different kinds of fillings (cheese, potato, meat..), different kinds of making (fried, baked..), different kinds of dough (filo, puff..), but in the end, all of them are called, “börek”.
Börek is just an essential part of life in Turkey. They are made for any occasion and they can be eaten in any time of the day. For the most part, a börek is a salty dish. However, I have seen sweet versions once or twice, though not very common at all.
I guess the most common version of börek has cheese or, for the meat lovers, minced meat filling. Yet, there are so many different fillings too, like this one for example, potato and onion. Another favourite ingredient of mine as a börek filling is eggplant – any combination of eggplant just makes the perfect one!
For this börek in this recipe, I used ready filo dough found in the frozen food section of most of the big supermarkets, like K-market in Kamppi or S-market in Ympyrätalo. This filo is very very thin (I’ve heard that some people make baklava with this one), that’s why I used 2 sheets for each roll. One package has 10-12 sheets which make 5 rolls and this is enough to cover a round baking mould that is 28cm in diameter. Since the sheets are very thin, they are also very fragile so be careful while handling them.
You can also find filo dough in ethnic markets, like Hauler in Kaisaniemi or Alanya Market in Itäkeskus. However, I do not like those ones for this kind of rolled börek. Those filos are quite thick and stiff, which makes it very hard to roll and in the end the dough cracks and you can’t get a good shape. So I do recommend the one I used. You can also make filo dough yourself but it takes a lot of time and effort; plus, I once did it and the whole effort killed my lower back!
So, go ahead, make your börek! Eat it with a glass of well-brewed tea or a glass of fresh orange juice! Bon appetit!
Difficulty: ★★☆ (Medium)
(makes 1 börek that fills a baking mould/pan which is 28cm in diameter)
2 tbsp olive oil (you can also use vegetable oil or butter if you like)
2 big onions, finely chopped
750 gr. potatoes, peeled, boiled and mashed
2 tsp red pepper (you can use more or less than this, depending on your choice of spiciness)
salt & pepper to taste
10 sheets of very thin filo dough or 5 sheets of normal thickness filo dough
To soften the layers of dough:
4 tbsp plain yogurt
3 tbsp vegetable oil
Some water (will be explained later in the instructions)
2 egg yolks to brush the surface of börek
a little vegetable oil to grease the baking mould
1. In a medium pan, sauté the onions in olive oil until they are cooked, but not burned!
2. Add cooked onions to the potato. Put red pepper, salt and pepper and mix them well.
3. Preheat the oven to 180C.
4. Grease the mould and set aside.
5. In a small bowl, put the ingredients to soften the layers of dough and beat them well. Add a little bit of water (in room temperature) to thin the mixture. I put about 2 tbsp of water. The mixture should be quite liquid and easy to brush on dough layers.
6. Take a sheet (or 2 sheets in my case, since the dough was very very thin) of dough. Brush the whole surface with the yogurt mixture. Do not put too much liquid, we just want to moisturise the dough a little.
7. On longer side of the dough, put a line of potato filling. Be generous but not too generous. I’d say, take 1 tbsp of filling each time and try to build a continuous line. Roll the dough as seen in the photo. If there are some parts on the ends without filling, cut those parts.
8. Make a spiral from the rolled dough and gently transfer this to the baking mould.
9. Continue with the remaining sheets, adding each roll to the end of previous roll in the baking mould. Fill the whole mould.
10. Beat 2 egg yolks a little and brush the whole surface with it. Make sure that you also brush the sides of rolls, which will help them stick to each other. Put in the oven on medium rack, bake for 45 minutes or until the surface becomes golden. Let it rest a little before you eat. Börek is best when freshly baked, however it still tastes really good in a 2-3 days, if it is stored in airtight container in room temperature.
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Fabulous…did this today for a test…and was very pleased!
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My girlfriend is from Kosovo and this is something her family make often, we live in England now and with the Covid virus we have been unable to visit family for more than a year, she misses them a lot so while she is working I am making this as a suprise for her, I hope it cheers her up.
Oh what a delicious surprise!
For some reason, my borek was rather dry and stiff. I might have put a tad too-much softening mixture on the dough sheets, but also at the end I just brushed the top with the same mixture as I didn’t want to crack new eggs (I saw some recipes do that). Anyway, hope I do it better next time.
Hmm yes too much softening might have reverse effect. Hope it’ll be better next time! Cheers!
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