The rich history and culture of Turkey have spawned some dishes which have gained popularity worldwide. From the pizza-like Pide to the flaky Baklava, there are so many delectable dishes out there and some are yet to be explored. One such dish is Borek, a type of savoury pie made with paper-thin Phyllo pastry sheets with a variety of fillings for every occasion. 

Borek (or Burek) first belonged to Ottoman cuisine and is thought to have originated from their royal courts. It continued to spread across North Africa and through the Balkans and can even be found in Mizrahi and Sephardic Jewish traditions. However modern Borek is most commonly associated with Turkey. 

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It can be found in every Turkish pastry shop and the fillings range from sweet to savoury although a mixture of yoghurt, eggs and olive oil is the most common version and is served for breakfast alongside a glass of Turkish tea. 

The shape of the Borek can differ. Some people layer it like lasagne to form a large pie, others stuff and roll individual pastry sheets to make individual snacks (sigara böreği) while others attach them together to form a long spiral. The pastry is then either baked or fried till the outside is crispy and golden and the filling is cooked through.

Although the process of filling and rolling Borek can be a little time-consuming, the final results are impressive and a huge crowd pleaser. Plus they can be made ahead of time by assembling them and freezing them uncooked and then baking or frying them right before they need to be served. This makes for a quick and easy breakfast option that’s delicious and filling.

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups yoghurt
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 12 phyllo sheets
  • 2 tablespoons nigella seeds (or sesame seeds)

For The Filling:

  • 2 cups spinach, chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh dill, chopped
  • ½ cup parsley, chopped
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • ½ cup grated mozzarella
  • ½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

Method:

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, yoghurt and olive oil. Put it aside.
  • In another bowl, combine spinach, dill, parsley, green onions, cheeses, olive oil, salt and pepper. Put it aside.
  • Preheat the oven to 180C. Brush the bottom and edges of a pan with oil.
  • Cut the phyllo sheets so that they fit in your baking pan. 
  • Cover them with a damp kitchen towel. Keep the remaining filo sheets under it every time you take one. This will prevent the sheets from drying out.
  • Line the first phyllo sheet in a greased pan. Using a brush, spread 2-3 tablespoons of yoghurt mixture on it. Fold the edges to the centre. It doesn't have to look perfect.
  • Place the second phyllo sheet in the same way. Brush with the mixture. Repeat this for 6 phyllo sheets in total.
  • Spread the filling evenly on the top of the 6th phyllo sheet.
  • Place the 7th phyllo sheet over the filling, and brush with the mixture. Fold the edges and repeat these steps for the remaining sheets.
  • Finally, pour the rest of the egg and yoghurt mixture on the top and spread it evenly. If you think it is too much for your baking pan, use half of it. 
  • Slice the borek in squares and sprinkle nigella seeds or sesame seeds over it.
  • Bake it for 35-40 minutes or until golden.
  • Remove it from the oven and let it cool for 10-15 min.