Bourekas: Savory Cheese-Filled Pastries
These cheese-filled pastries are relatively easy to make — if you purchase the dough to make your feta-filled bourekas. Flaky filo dough makes the best bourekas, but you can also use puff pastry and pie dough. For the filling, pair a pungent cheese such as feta or Parmesan with a mild one such as cottage cheese.
Preparation time: 1 hour
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Yield: 15 to 20 small pastries
Keeping kosher: Dairy
1/2 pound filo dough (about 10 sheets)
1/4 cup farmers’ cheese or ricotta cheese
1/2 cup finely crumbled feta cheese
1 large egg
1/3 cup grated cheddar or Swiss cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Small pinch of salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1/3 to 1/2 cup melted butter, for brushing dough
1 teaspoon sesame seeds, for sprinkling
If the filo dough is frozen, thaw it in the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight.
Remove it from the refrigerator 2 hours before using it, leaving it wrapped.
Mash the farmers’ cheese with the feta cheese in a medium bowl until blended.
Crack the egg into a small bowl and beat it lightly.
Add the egg, cheddar cheese, oregano, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper, then mix until combined.
Butter two baking sheets.
Remove the filo sheets from their package and unroll them on a dry towel.
With a sharp knife, cut the stack in half lengthwise, to make 2 stacks of 16-x-7-inch sheets.
Cover them immediately with waxed paper and then with a slightly damp towel.
Work with only one sheet at a time, keeping the remaining sheets covered with the waxed paper and towel so they don’t dry out.
Remove 1 filo sheet and brush it lightly with melted butter.
Fold it in half lengthwise, to make a 16-x-3-1/2-inch strip.
Dab it lightly with butter.
Spoon 2 teaspoons cheese filling at one end of the strip.
Fold the end of the strip diagonally over the filling to form a triangle and dab it lightly with butter.
Continue folding it over, keeping it in a neat triangle after each fold, until you reach the strip’s end.
Set the triangular pastry on a buttered baking sheet.
Brush the pastry lightly with butter.
Follow Steps 10 through 17 with the remaining filo sheets and filling.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Brush the pastries again lightly with melted butter and sprinkle them with sesame seeds.
Bake them for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Serve them warm, not hot, or at room temperature.