Borek (Flaky Cheese-Filled Triangles with Herbs)
I volunteered to bring an appetizer for a dinner with friends last weekend. They recently returned from a three-week trip to Turkey so I opted for something that might remind them of their travels. This recipe is Turkish, but is reminiscent of dishes found in several countries along the Mediterranean Sea.
I both love and hate phyllo. It’s so incredibly thin and delicate that it can be a little challenging to work with. However, since most recipes call for layering several sheets and buttering each layer, you soon learn that you can repair any tears or broken pieces. And the results are always delicious!
Another advantage is many recipes that use phyllo call for baking, not frying, yet you get that crispy outer layer. That’s also an advantage when preparing them for company and it gives them staying power. I had several of these leftover and even after storing in the refrigerator for a few days they are still pretty crispy. It’s also easy to pop them in the oven for five or ten minutes to warm and re-crisp them.
Recipe adapted from From Tapas to Meze
- 12 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
- 4 Tbsp grated (about 1/4 cup) or kefalotyri or Parmesan cheese,
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- Pinch of nutmeg
- 2 Tbsp fresh chives, chopped
- 2 Tbsp fresh dill, chopped
- 2 Tbsp fresh mint, chopped
- 2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- 4 Tbsp toasted pine nuts
- Salt to taste
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- 8 ounces phyllo dough (about 20 sheets, 14 x 9 inches), thawed, if frozen
- 1/4 pound (1 stick) butter, melted
For the filling, combine cheeses, egg, nutmeg, chives, dill, mint, parsley, pine nuts, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Mash with a fork. Set aside.
For pastry, stack the phyllo sheets and with scissors, cut into 3 x 14-inch strips. Stack strips and cover with a slightly dampened towel. Preheat oven to 375° F.
Place one strip of phyllo on work surface. Brush lightly with butter. Place another strip on top and brush lightly with the butter. (Keep remaining strips covered.) Place heaping teaspoon of filling at one end, about 1 inch from the edge. Fold one corner over the filling to meet the opposite corner, forming a triangle. Lift triangle and continue to fold as you would a flag, until the whole strip is folded into a small, triangular parcel. Make sure there are no holes in the dough.
Brush top of triangle with butter; place on a buttered baking sheet. Repeat with remaining filling and phyllo.
Bake 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown and crisp. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.
Tip: The unbaked Borek can be prepared early in the day, placed on baking sheets, covered with plastic and refrigerated until you are ready to bake them. They may also be made up to 2 weeks in advance and stored in the freezer until you are ready to use them. Defrost before baking.