Bourekas are parcels of flaky filled dough that are either fried in hot oil or melted butter or baked in the oven. In Israel, bourekas with all sorts of fillings are a bakery mainstay, and the supermarkets sell frozen ones as a convenience item. Kosher supermarkets in the U.S. and elsewhere often carry them, too, but they can be hard to find otherwise. Fortunately, they're not at all hard to make at home.
This easy recipe for Israeli potato bourekas is made with purchased puff pastry for convenience and baked for a simpler preparation. And unlike the equally popular cheese boureka, these are parve, so they can be eaten with a meat or dairy meal.
Traditional recipes often call for margarine or butter, but if you'd like to skip both, feel free to use olive oil instead. For a vegan version, skip the eggs. You won't miss them in the filling. To help the sesame seeds adhere to the pastry, lightly brush with water or soy milk before sprinkling on the seeds.
Kosher Status: Pareve or Dairy
- For the Filling:
- 3 medium russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 to 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (or non-hydrogenated margarine, or butter)
- Sea salt, to taste (or kosher salt)
- Black pepper, freshly ground, to taste
- 2 large eggs
- Optional: 1 onion, peeled, trimmed, and finely chopped
- Optional: 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
- For the Pastry:
- 1 (14- to 16-ounce) package puff pastry (sheets or pre-cut squares)
- Garnish: sesame seeds
- Place the potatoes in a saucepan or stockpot with enough cold water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Cook uncovered until the potatoes are tender and easily pierced with a fork, about 20 to 25 minutes.
- Drain, place in a large bowl, and pass through a potato ricer or mash with a potato masher or wire whisk. Set aside to cool.
- In a large skillet set over medium-high heat, warm the oil (or melt the margarine or butter). Add the optional onion and garlic, and sauté until soft and translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes.
- Stir the mixture into the potatoes. (If you're not using the onions and garlic, simply add the oil, margarine, or butter to the potatoes). Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- In a small bowl, beat one of the eggs. While stirring the cool potato mixture, slowly add the beaten egg. Mix well until the egg is totally integrated into the mashed potatoes.
- Heat the oven to 375 F (190 C). Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Fill a small bowl with water. If using puff pastry sheets, cut them into 5-inch squares.
- Place a heaping tablespoon of filling in the center of each square. Dip your fingers in the water and dampen the edges of the squares, then fold in half diagonally or vertically to form triangular or rectangular pastries. Pinch the edges together to seal the filling inside.
- Beat the second egg and brush it over the tops of the bourekas. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top. Bake in the heated oven for 30 minutes or until the bourekas are puffed and golden.
Bourekas are most often filled with either ground beef, cheese, or vegetables ranging from spinach to eggplant or potatoes.
Traditionally, they are made with a homemade pastry, but store-bought phyllo dough or puff pastry can be substituted for convenience.