Cheese and Potato Borekas

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Consumed in great quantities, loved by all, the flaky dough and flavorful fillings beckon you to eat yet another one, the irresistible Boreka.  Borekas are usually a savory but occasionally sweet filled turnover.  There are many kinds of dough and infinite variety of fillings.  Various versions can be found in Turkey, in Israel and throughout the Middle East.Sephardic Jews or broadly speaking those with Spanish origins, from Turkey and the Greek Island of Rhodes traditionally eat this dairy filled version at holiday lunches along with a long list of other traditional items.  I have many fond memories of this as a child in Seattle.  My Borekas are petit and crisp with an intense cheese flavor but not too salty.   

Filling: 

1-large Russet baking potato, peeled    

14 ounces of  Feta cheese, crumbled 

10 ounces of Monterey Jack cheese or Cheddar cheese, grated    

2 ounces of Kasseri cheese, grated 

2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated    

3 extra-large eggs    

Dough: 

4 cups flour    

2 teaspoons salt 

1 cup ice cold water    

3/4 cup vegetable oil, preferably safflower    

1 beaten egg for the egg wash    

2 ounces Parmesan cheese grated    

Preheat oven to 400 °.    

Slice the potato in ¼ inch slices, place in a sauce pan with enough water to cover and boil for about 15 minutes or until soft enough to mash.  Drain and mash the potato once it is soft enough. While the potato is still hot, add the feta cheese into the potato.  Add the other cheeses and use a potato masher to blend.  Then switch to a wooden spoon and add the eggs and mix.  The heat from the potatoes will melt the cheeses, but by the time, you add the eggs they will not cook.  Set aside to cool while you prepare the dough or refrigerate up to one day until you have time to make them.  The filling will stiffen as it cools.    

For the dough, combine the flour and salt in a medium size mixing bowl.  Whisk the cold water and oil together in a two cup glass measure.  Add the liquid to the flour.  Gather the dough together in a ball with your hands, making sure all is incorporated. Make two batches of dough for this amount of filling.  The dough should be very pliable, yet formable into a shape,  and easy to roll out but not sticky.    

Separate each batch of dough into 42 walnut size balls.  With your fingers roll the balls until smooth.  Smooth balls roll out easier and create a more uniform boreka. Roll each ball out to about a 3 inch in diameter round using a wooden rolling pin.  Take care not to roll the rolling pin over the edges of your rounds or the edges will be thin and centers thick.    

Portion out the filling to accommodate the 84 balls you have made.  To assemble the borekas, place a tablespoon of filling in the center of each round of dough.  Portion out the filling to accommodate the 84 balls you have made.  Fold the rounds into half-moons.  Pinch the edges shut and twist the edge forming a rope design (repulgo).  To achieve the rope edge hold the boreka in you left hand, edge side out, using you right thumb and index finger, pinch the left edge of the corner, give a little pull and fold it forward and seal to create the first scallop on the rope.  Repeat as finely as possible across the edge to the right until you have an overlapping sealed edge of scallops.  To keep it simple, just seal the edges with the tines of a fork taking care not stretch the edge to thin.    

You will need 4 one half sheet baking pans.  Use silpat liners if you like, and save some scrubbing.  Place 21 borekas on each baking sheet (3 columns of seven).  Space them evenly.  Brush each one with egg wash, being careful not get egg on the baking sheet.    

Sprinkle with the grated Parmesan cheese.  Bake for approximately 15 to 20 minutes or until and golden.  Remove from the baking sheets and place on cooling racks.    

BOREKAS may be frozen and reheated.  You can also freeze them before baking single layer on a cookie sheet and later transfer to a zip lock bag when frozen hard.  Bake when needed.    

Boreka Pictures 1003
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2 Responses

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  2. These look great! And the filling sounds very tasty.

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