Ever since I tasted börek at one of the stall in Queen Victoria Market circa 2010, I knew I wanted to make my own börek someday. Now you may ask, wth is börek? Börek is a Turkish baked pastry made from filo pastry/phyllo and filled with vegetables or meat with cheese. You can say that it’s a Turkish version of pie. The one that I will be making below is filled with spinach and feta cheese.
I got hold of a bottle of cooked spinach which is called ispanak from Turkish, so I’m going to skip the cooking of spinach in this post but you can follow the recipe below.
Crumble the cheese with hand and stir with the spinach to combine.
Filo pastry. Mine comes with 18 sheets in total.
Place the filo pastry on a flat surface and make sure you cover it with a damp cloth.
Use a rectangle baking pan and brush all sides and bottom with melted butter. My pan size is 9″x13″. Now take the first layer of the filo pastry and layer into the pan and brush with glaze like in the picture above. As you can see, the filo pastry is larger than my pan. You can trim the filo pastry to fit the pan perfectly or just layer it like I do, if you’re using the same pan size.
Add a second layer and brush with glaze again. Do this repeatedly until 9 layers has been used up. Because my filo come with 18 sheets, I halved it to become 9 sheets. That’s why. If your filo box come with 20 sheets, then layer it for 10 layers with glaze in between them.
On top of the 9th layer, add spinach + feta cheese filling. Make sure they are evenly distributed. Allow some space on the edges and corners (about ½ inch) so that when you slice it later, the filling won’t over flow.
Now top with a filo sheet and brush with glaze. Continue this until you have used up all your filo sheet (all remaining 9 sheets) with glaze in between.
Brush the final top layer with topping glaze.
Now slice into your desired shaped (square, triangle, rectangle).
Lastly sprinkle black and white sesame seeds on top.
Now you’re ready to bake. Bake at 180oC for 40 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Hope you enjoy this delicious börek.
As you can see making borek is quite exciting. It’s all about cooking the filling and doing the fun layering work.
I had this spinach and feta cheese börek for lunch and dinner. And then lunch again. Hehehe
1 box filo pastry, thawed overnight (if frozen) – mine contained 18 sheets
50g-70g feta cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
500g baby spinach, washed and dried
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 bottle of cooked spinach (about 500g) – if you’re lazy like me
40g butter, melted (leave some for oiling the baking pan)
1/3 cup natural yogurt or milk (I use yogurt)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/8 cup yogurt or milk (I use yogurt)
Note: If you’re using bottled cooked spinach you may skip step 1.
1. To cook spinach, add oil in a pan or wok. Add chopped onion and cook until aromatic. Add spinach, salt and pepper. Stir well and cook for about 2-4 minutes. Put cooked spinach in a plate and let it cool. Once cooled, strain off its juices with a sieve. Place spinach in a bowl.
2. Add feta cheese into the spinach. Mix to combine.
3. In a separate bowl, mix the glaze together and on another bowl, mix the topping glaze.
4. Using a rectangle pan (mine is 9″x13″), brush pan on all sides and bottom with melted butter.
5. Remove filo from the box and place it on a flat surface. Cover it with damp cloth to prevent it from drying as the sheet is very thin.
6. Place a layer of filo pastry into the pan and brush with glaze. Continue this for 8 layers more; that is layer a sheet into the pan and brush with glaze until all 9 layers is used up. Note: My filo box come with a total of 18 sheets, I halved it becoming 9 sheets as mentioned above.
7. Add spinach+feta cheese filling evenly on the 9th layer. Allow about 1/2 inch space on the edges and corners.
8. Then add a layer of filo pastry on top the filling and brush with glaze. Continue this for the next 8 layers (when you have used up all your filo sheet).
9. Brush the final top layer with topping glaze. Use a knife to cut into your desired shaped such as squares, triangles or rectangles (I slice mine into squares). Lastly sprinkle black and white sesame seeds on top.
10. Bake at 180oC for 40 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Serves warm.