There is a certain mystique about Turkish börek that we foreigners are acutely aware of.
We like to eat them but we tend to think they’re not for us: we hesitate to make them because we think we don’t really know how.
And of course that’s true! We who haven’t a clue what yufka is when we first arrive – how can we presume to make what is after all one of the nation’s favourites?
But time passes and as börek become more familiar to us and we lose some of our initial timidity, it gradually becomes apparent that we CAN make börek!
This large oven-baked spinach and white cheese one is actually one of the very easiest to make as well as being economical in terms of ingredients.
It’s ideal for either lunch or as here, as a tuzlu for a Turkish teaparty. I would normally make a savoury tart but I thought just for fun, I’d try this.
Spinach and white cheese is only one of the time-honoured fillings: you can use minced beef with onion and tomato; Turkish pastırma, the dried beef with the spicy outer paste and kaşar cheese. Or try grated courgettes with white cheese or even your leftover mashed potato with grated cheese, herbs and flaked red pepper.
It’s up to you.
I thought this combination was ideal, the only drawback was having to finely chop the spinach. After that, everything was plain sailing.
As always, I don’t recommend the pre-packed supermarket yufka: market yufka is better or anywhere where it’s being made fresh daily.
- Preheat oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4.
- Remove the stalks of the spinach, wash and chop finely.
- Mix together with the cheese and 2 of the beaten eggs.
- Spread out 1 sheet of the yufka on a flat surface and brush with olive oil or melted butter.
- Fold in half and brush again. (If using filo, layer 3 sheets of pastry twice).
- Repeat the process with the second sheet.
- Divide the filling over the 2 folded sheets and spread evenly.
- Roll up the pastry lengthways, incorporating the filling.
- Transfer carefully onto an oiled baking tray one at a time. Start with the first and coil it around itself.
- Continue with the second, coiling it around the first and folding the ends underneath.
- Whisk together the remaining egg with a little more olive oil and brush over the pastry.
- Sprinkle with sesame and/or nigella seeds.
- Bake in a moderate oven for about 40 mins – I gave mine at least another 20 mins – or until the top is golden.
- Serve hot or cold. This dish can be successfully reheated.
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