Borek was a firm staple in our home growing up, and it still is today. It’s traditionally a Turkish dish, but has been adopted by many other nations, who’ve put their own spin on it. It’s easy, filling and versatile. It’s like a (lighter?) cousin of the gozleme There’s many different types, which you can see from the Wikipedia link above, however the recipe I’m going to share is the basic and simplest version. This is great to have on hand to serve to unexpected guests with tea, or even for breakfast or afternoon tea.
A colleague recently asked me where I would recommend getting this dish from, and I told her to make her own! Borek is most often found in kebab shops and are often laden will oil and excess fat which is totally unnecessary. So here we go…mums tried and tested cheese borek recipe. Note that this is traditionally made with yufka pastry, however as this is harder to come by, we substitute for filo, which is just as good.
Cheese & Spinach Borek (Ispanakli Borek)
1 cup milk
2 TB canola oil
1 sheet filo pastry
300g ricotta cheese (I use light, you can use full fat or even substitute mozzarella)
1 big bar Australian fetta
1 small box of frozen spinach
Salt & pepper
Beat the eggs in a small bowl. Add the milk and canola oil and mix well. Set aside.
In a medium sized bowl, combine the cheeses, spinach and season with salt & pepper. Note, I normally grate the bar of fetta to ensure it’s evenly mixed in.
Generously spray an oven dish with canola spray. Preheat oven at 180 degrees. Take 1 sheet of filo pastry, flatten/unroll and place horizontally in the bottom of the dish, covering the bottom half of the dish, with half hanging out. Take 1 other sheet of filo and place on opposite side, covering top half of dish, with half of the filo hanging off other side of dish. Take another sheet of filo, and place vertically on one side of dish, half in and half out. Take 1 other sheet of filo, and place vertically on opposite side, making sure it’s half in and half out. The 4 sheets together should cover the entire base of sheet, and you should have an overhand on all 4 sides of the dish.
Spoon 2 tb of the egg mixture over the filo, spreading it across the entire base. Place down 2 more sheets of filo at the very base of the dish (no overhang), making sure you gently pack it down. Spoon 2tb of the egg mixture over the base. Repeat this process, using half of the pack of filo (approx 12 sheets, will depend on brand)
Once you’ve used up roughly half of the filo, spoon cheese mixture across base of dish. Note – do not use the egg mixture at this point.
Continue putting down 2 sheets of pastry, followed by 2 tb of the egg mixture until all sheets of filo are used. Fold down the overhanging filo sheets making a parcel. Pour the rest of the egg mixture over the top.
Place in oven for 20-30 minutes. Once it comes out of the oven, let it sit in the dish and cool down for at least 10-15 minutes.
While in the oven, the middle may have risen up, and during this time it should come down. When it’s cooled, cut it into square slices. Serve warm or cold. If reheating, warm it up in a sandwich press or under the grill – this will make it nice and crunchy!
Enjoy! Fast, easy and 85 cals per serve (based on low fat ingredients, with 16 squares)
What I also love about this dish is that you can adapt to suit your tastes, and the ingredients you have on hand. Other fillings include
– Fetta cheese and tomato
– Cheese & Zucchini
– And the popular mince version. To make mince Borek, brown 2 diced onions, 2 tb water and 300g beef mince on the stove top. Once browned add a handful of parsley, 1 diced tomato, 1/2 tb red chilli flakes or powder and season with salt & pepper. Follow previous method, substituting mince mixture for cheese filling.