Peynirli börek – Turkish cheese pastries

These pastries are made in many shapes and sizes in Turkey – sometimes baked in the oven in a large dish and then cut into portions like a pie, sometimes they are cigar-shaped rolls, and often they are these little triangular delights.  They are usually  made with filo pastry, filled with sheep’s or goats’ cheese and herbs.  It’s quite difficult to fold them tidily when you have a huge sheet of pastry, as they were sold in Istanbul when I was young.  When my mother wanted to serve böreks for a party she used to ask a Turkish helper to make them for her.  I’ve found an easier way to make the folded pastries here in France because I can buy Moroccan brick pastry which is sold in circular sheets about 30 cm in diameter.  This pastry looks different to filo pastry, but the finished result once cooked tastes the same to me as I remember from Turkey.

Today I used ricotta cheese, but usually I use a fresh sheep’s cheese called brousse, and you can use any soft, creamy cheese. They’re nice made with chopped sweet onion and oregano, but I didn’t have these today so I added some chopped thyme, a couple of finely chopped cloves of garlic, a pinch of salt and half a teaspoon of ground piment d’Espelette (paprika) to 250 grams of ricotta.  Then I began to fold the böreks using a method I found described once on a packet of brick pastry:

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I cut all the circles of pastry in half and then take one at a time and fold down the rounded side over the straight side.

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I put a spoonful of the cheese mixture at one end of the pastry, leaving enough to fold over at the end.

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I fold the flap over and then carry on folding over the triangle until I reach the other end.

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For the last turnover I brush some water onto the pastry so that it holds together.

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When they’re all ready they can be fried in olive oil – you need to use quite a lot of oil as they burn if they are too dry.

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The böreks should be served hot, on their own as a first course or with other mezes or tapas.

Just before I made these at lunch time today I saw this wonderful field of poppies next to a vineyard near Pézenas.

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9 thoughts on “Peynirli börek – Turkish cheese pastries

  1. I must try these. I have already made them with spinach and feta, and last week tried them with a spicy courgette and sweetcorn filling. Cheese and herbs sound wonderful.

    Love the poppy photo.

  2. I’ve not heard of böreks before but what’s not to love? Cheese wrapped in pastry dough & deep fried? They sound incredible! Such a beautiful field of poppies. Thanks for sharing it with us.

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