Börek (also burek and other variants) belongs to a family of baked filled pastries made of a thin dough known as phyllo in Greece or yufka in Turkey. It can be filled with cheese, often feta, sirene or kaşar; minced meat, or vegetables. It was most probably invented in what is now modern Turkey, in the Anatolian Provinces of the Ottoman Empire in its early era, to become a popular element of Ottoman cuisine. A börek may be prepared in a large pan and cut into portions after baking, or as individual pastries. The top of the börek is often sprinkled with sesame seeds.
Börek is also very popular in the North African cuisine and throughout the Balkans as well. The Southern Slavic cuisines, historically developed by people living in close contact with the Turkic peoples of Asia and Europe, also feature derivatives of the börek. Börek is also part of Mizrahi and Sephardic Jewish traditions. They have been enthusiastically adopted by the Ottoman Jewish communities, and have been described bulemas, as forming “the trio of preeminent Ottoman Jewish pastries”.
Modern Turkey enjoys a wide variety of börek among the different cultures and ethnicities composing it, most of the time, the word “börek” is accompanied in Turkish by a descriptive word referring to the shape, ingredients of the pastry, the cooking methods or for a specific region where it is typically prepared. According to these there are the next varieties: Water börek is one of the most common types. Layers of dough are boiled briefly in large pans, then a mixture of feta cheese, parsley and oil is scattered between the layers. The whole thing is brushed with butter and laid in a masonry oven to cook.
Cigarette börek or pen börek a smaller, cylindrical variety is often filled with feta cheese, potato, parsley and sometimes with minced meat or sausage. A variety of vegetables, herbs and spices are used in böreks, such as spinach, nettle, leek, and courgette and usually ground black pepper. Paçanga böreği, is a traditional Sephardic Jewish specialty of Istanbul filled with pastırma or kaşar, and julienned green peppers fried in olive oil and eaten as a meze.
Saray palace börek is a layered börek where fresh butter is rolled between each of the dough sheets.
Sawdust or Austrian börek, is a small square börek mostly filled with lamb cubes and green peas, that has starchier yufka sheets, making it puffy and crispy.
Arm börek is prepared in long rolls, either rounded or lined, and filled with either minced meat, feta cheese, spinach or potato and baked at a low temperature.
Sarıyer böreği is a smaller and a little fattier version of the “Kol böreği”, named after Sarıyer, a district of Istanbul
Rose börek is also known as Yuvarlak böreği round or spiral börek are rolled into small spirals and have a spicier filling than other börek.
Çibörek ‘raw börek’ is a half-round shaped börek, filled with raw minced meat and fried in oil on the concave side of the sac, very popular in places with a thriving Tatar community, such as Eskişehir, Polatlı and Konya.
Töbörek another Tatar variety, similar to a çiğ börek, but baked either on the convex side of the sac, or in a masonry oven instead of frying in oil.
Laz böreği, a specialty of the Rize region, is a sweet version, filled with muhallebi (Ottoman-style milk pudding or custard) and served sprinkled with powdered sugar. It similar with Greek Bougatsa.
Kürt böregi is similar to Laz böreği, without the custard filling. It is also called sade (plain) börek and served with fine powdered sugar.
Here in Münich there is a great Turkish community so börek is a well known street food. I have never tried to make it at home until last week but I can tell you I was stupid not to prepare it earlier because the outcome was super!
I chose the cigar börek variant with yoghurt filling
|6||yufka pastry sheets|
|250 g||GAZI herder’s cheese (%55 fat|
|1/4||bunch smooth parsley|
|250 g||GAZI yoghurt|
Methods: Melt 100 g of butter in a pan and mix milk, yoghurt, salt, pepper and 2 eggs in a bowl. Mash the herder’s cheese with a fork, finely chop washed parsley and mix together. Butter a flat baking dish, arrange a layer of Yufka in it, letting it hang over the edge of the dish. Pour some of the milk mixture over it. Place a second pastry sheet on top, moisten with the milk mixture, and spread half of the cheese filling over the sheet. Place the third pastry layer, pour some of the milk mixture onto it and spread evenly. Place the fourth pastry sheet, moisten with the milk and spread the rest of the cheese mixture over it. Moisten the last two pastry sheets with the milk mixture. Pour the rest of the milk mixture over the entire dish, fold the edges inward and arrange some flakes of butter on the top. Bake at 200°C (400°F) for about 45 minutes. Serve hot.
Frozen Yufka pastry sheets can be found in almost all supermarkets and in many special Turkish stores.