Börekapart from sigara böreği – is something I have resolutely stayed away from all the years I’ve lived here and now I wonder why.
Well, I do know why: they are so delicious, we’d put on kilos! But they are so much part of the Turkish cuisine especially at teatime – remember, teatime here is taken very seriously with both savoury and sweet goodies always on the table – and I know that TT’s dream food is a slice of warm, flaky börek with a glass of çay.
This is indeed the way to a Turkish sevgili‘s heart!
But what is börek?
It’s layers of yufka or filo pastry filled most commonly with cheese, meat or spinach. This one is slightly unusual as the filling is made with onion. You can ring the changes according to the way you cut and roll the yufka.
Börek, usually baked in the oven on an oven tray or tepsi, is perfect for a hungry crowd and much easier and quicker than making a quiche!
Traditionally, housewives used to’open’ the pastry themselves but nowadays we buy our yufka from a special yufkacı if we are lucky enough to have one in the neighbourhood.
Failing that, it’s sold in packets in supermarkets but it definitely won’t be as good.
Börek is not strictly confined to Turkey: it’s very popular in the cuisines of the former Ottoman Empire stretching widely from North Africa to the Balkans.
Different regions in today’s Turkey all enjoy their own special form of this delectable savoury pastry and when you are out and about, you will see places devoted solely to selling it.
So easy if you don’t feel like making it yourself ….but you will once you see how easy it is!
- Pre-heat oven to 180°C/350°F.
- Peel the onions and chop in the food processor. Don’t totally pulverise them.
- Melt the butter in a pan and gently sauté the onions until soft.
- Season with the salt, pepper and flaked red pepper and mix.
- Remove from the heat.
- Add the chopped parsley and leave to cool.
- Take the first yufka and brush with the combined butter and sunflower oil.
- Spread the cooled onion mix all the way to the edges and then roll evenly into a long shape.
- Continue in the same way with the other sheets of yufka.
- Cut into pieces roughly 3 fingers wide.
- Grease an oven tray or line with greaseproof paper.
- Place the börek on it and brush with the beaten egg yolk.
- Sprinkle with the sesame seeds or nigella.
- Bake until nicely browned.
- Don’t be afraid of over-cooking them! They’re very sturdy.
I promise you will absolutely love these! Really! Perfect as a little starter or even with drinks. You can cut them bigger or smaller as you wish, don’t forget.