Like their Turkish namesake the borek, Israeli bourekas may be filled with a wide variety of filings, though simple cheese or potato bourekas are especially popular. In Israel, you'll find them on offer at all times of the day, both at mealtimes or as snacks. Giora Shimoni recalls that "a typical dinner in my Israeli home as a child included tuna salad or eggs, Israeli salad and cheese bourekas." He says that "bourekas are readily available in any Israeli grocery store, but homemade bourekas can't be beat. And kids enjoy preparing them." His simple cheese-filled version uses frozen puff pastry and mozzarella cheese.
Make It A Meal: Offer a counterpoint to the rich puff pastry by serving the bourekas with Israeli Salad, or this Heirloom Tomato Salad with Goat Cheese and Arugula. A Mushroom and Onion Omelette or bowl of Roasted Carrot, Apple, and Celery Soup would round out the meal nicely.
Miri's Recipe Tips: Mozzarella may be easy to find, but it's texture and mild flavor aren't exactly characteristic of the briny tang you'd usually find in Israeli cheese bourekas. Swap some or all of the mozzarella for a mix of feta and Kashkaval, or even some g'vina levana (a creamy Israeli cheese with sour cream-like notes) or goat cheese, and you'll get a little closer to the Israeli-style cheese boureka.
Edited by Miri Rotkovitz
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 8 ounces (1 3/4 cups or 225 grams) cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 17.5 ounce (450 grams) package frozen puff pastry
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- Sesame seeds to garnish
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a bowl, mix the egg, cheese, parsley, garlic salt, and pepper.
3. Using a sharp knife, cut the puff pastry into 5-inch squares. Place a heaping tablespoon of cheese filling in each square. Dampen the edges of the squares with water, and fold in half diagonally to form triangular pastries. Pinch the edges together to seal the filling inside.
4. Brush the tops of the borekas with beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
5. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until the pastries are puffed and golden, and the filling is cooked through. Serve immediately.