Burekas

Burekas with cheese and mushrooms, potato. Israeli Savory Pastries. Baked pastry with poppy seeds and sesame on a wooden background
Copyright: haninnataly

Burekas is a savory pastry that originated in the Sephardic Jewish cuisine, but it is enjoyed in various Middle Eastern and Mediterranean countries. It is a popular snack or appetizer that features a flaky dough filled with various savory fillings. Burekas can come in different shapes, such as triangles, rectangles, or half-moons. 

The Dough

Burekas dough is typically made from a combination of flour, water, oil, and sometimes yogurt or sour cream. The dough is rolled out thinly and then cut into individual pieces to encase the filling. It is known for its flaky and buttery texture when baked.

The Fillings

Burekas can be filled with a variety of savory ingredients. Traditional fillings include:

  • Cheese: A popular filling for Burekas is a mixture of various cheeses, such as feta, ricotta, or goat cheese. The cheese is often combined with herbs or spices for added flavor.
  • Potato: Mashed potatoes, often seasoned with herbs and spices, can be used as a filling. Sometimes, onions or caramelized onions are added to enhance the flavor.
  • Spinach: Sautéed spinach, mixed with onions and spices, is another common filling for Burekas. The spinach provides a rich, earthy taste.
  • Meat: Ground meat, such as beef or lamb, can be cooked with onions, herbs, and spices, and used as a filling for a more substantial and flavorful Burekas.

Assembly and Baking

To assemble Burekas, a portion of the dough is typically rolled out into a thin layer. The filling is placed on one side of the dough, and then the other side is folded over to enclose the filling. The edges are sealed by pressing or crimping with a fork.

Once assembled, Burekas are usually brushed with an egg wash to give them a shiny golden color when baked. They are then baked in the oven until the dough turns crispy and golden, and the filling is cooked and flavorful.

Serving

Burekas can be served hot, warm, or at room temperature. They are often enjoyed as a snack, appetizer, or part of a larger meal. They can be served on their own or accompanied by sauces such as tahini, yogurt, or spicy dips.

Burekas are loved for their delightful combination of flaky pastry and flavorful fillings, making them a delicious and satisfying treat.

A number of savoury pastries are prepared using mushroom, cheese and potato as a filling.

Ingredients: For the Dough:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • 1/2 cup cold water

For the Filling:

  • 1 cup mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup boiled and mashed potatoes
  • 1 cup grated cheese (such as feta, ricotta, or a mix)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For Assembly and Topping:

  • 1 egg, beaten (for egg wash)
  • Sesame seeds or poppy seeds (optional, for topping)

Preparation:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt for the dough. Add the cold, cubed butter and use your fingertips or a pastry cutter to work the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  3. Gradually add the cold water, mixing until the dough comes together. Knead the dough gently until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped mushrooms, onion, and minced garlic. Sauté until the mushrooms release their moisture and the mixture becomes fragrant and slightly golden. Remove from heat and let it cool.
  5. In a mixing bowl, combine the cooled mushroom mixture, mashed potatoes, grated cheese, dried thyme, salt, and pepper. Mix well until all the ingredients are evenly incorporated.
  6. Take the chilled dough out of the refrigerator. On a floured surface, roll out the dough into a thin sheet, about 1/8 inch (3mm) thick.
  7. Use a round cookie cutter or a glass to cut out circles from the rolled dough. Place a spoonful of the filling onto one half of each circle.
  8. Fold the other half of the dough over the filling to form a half-moon shape. Press the edges firmly to seal the Burekas. You can use a fork to crimp the edges for a decorative touch.
  9. Arrange the Burekas on the prepared baking sheet. Brush the tops with beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds or poppy seeds if desired.
  10. Bake in the preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes, or until the Burekas turn golden brown and crispy.
  11. Remove from the oven and let them cool for a few minutes before serving.
  12. Serve the Burekas warm or at room temperature as a delightful snack or appetizer. Enjoy their flaky pastry and flavorful cheese, mushroom, and potato filling!

Note: Feel free to adjust the filling ingredients according to your taste preferences. You can also experiment with different types of cheese or add herbs and spices to enhance the flavor.

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