“We used to eat Borekitas de Muez a lot in Turkey but much less in Israel,” says Lemi Nifusi, a young cook who runs a Turkish food business in Tel Aviv, and whose family lived in Turkey for hundreds of years before emigrating to Israel about two decades ago. “Originally Emily, my maternal grandmother, would make them for Rosh Hashanah, but because the grandchildren loved them so much, she started making them for afternoon tea almost every day. Now grandma is over 90 years old and rarely makes it. When I took the recipe from her to prepare for the festival, she said that among the Jewish community, these borekitas were once a kind of test of the baking abilities of a young bride who would prepare them for her future in-laws when they came to ask for her hand in marriage.” Lemi says that the pastries, which are Jewish in origin, also spread to non-Jewish Turkish bakeries, and in recent years you can find them in Istanbul under the name Elmalı cevizli tarçınlı kurabiye, which, loosely translated, means an apple, walnut and cinnamon cookie.
Ingredients for Borekitas de muez
For the dough:
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup (200 grams) Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 cup + 1 tablespoon (210 ml) neutral - flavored oil
- 2 teaspoons (10 grams) אבקת אפייה (1 packet)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups (420 grams) flour
For the filling:
- 2 green apples (Granny Smith) Peeled, cored and coarsely grated
- ½ cup (100 grams) Sugar
- 1.75 oz (50 grams) walnuts coarsely chopped
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon ground
- 1 egg yolks beaten with a little water
- Sesame seeds
- confectioners' sugar
Prepare the dough:
1. Mix all the ingredients, except the flour, in a stand mixer fitted with the hook attachment. Add flour gradually, while kneading at medium speed, until you get a soft and pliable dough (you may not need the entire amount of flour). Turn the dough out onto a work surface, form into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Transfer to the refrigerator for an hour.
Meantime, prepare the filling:
2. Put grated apples and sugar in a medium pot and cook over medium heat for about fifteen minutes, stirring occasionally (the apples will absorb a little liquid, there is no need to add). Remove from the heat, add walnuts and cinnamon and mix until evenly distributed. Cool.
Assemble and bake:
3. Heat the oven to 355F (180C) degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
4. Take the dough out of the refrigerator and roll it out on a lightly floured work surface into a ¼-inch (½ cm) thick sheet. Cut out 2⅓ inch (6 cm) diameter circles from the dough and put about a tablespoon of the filling in the center of each circle. Fold each circle in half, to create a half moon shape, and pinch the edges to seal.
5. Transfer the closed borekitas to the baking sheet, brush with egg yolk and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Transfer to the oven and bake for about 20 minutes until browned. Remove from the oven and let the borekitas cool to room temperature. Once cool, sprinkle with confectioners sugar and serve. The borekitas will keep in a sealed box outside the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
In December 2021, we launched the first festival of its kind in the country, which aims to revive home baked goods that are disappearing from the landscape to ensure that they will remain with us for many years to come. We started by researching and locating nine bakers from different ethnicities who prepare traditional pastries that are now extinct, we connected them to 9 selected bakeries from around the country and launched the festival of lost pastries: ten days in which each bakery prepared one pastry and offered it for sale.
About the bakery:
Mazli Dosh, the owner of Lachmanina, chose bourekitas because “it is very connected to what we do – there is something simple and delicate about it, with clean flavors on the one hand, and on the other hand it is very surprising: as the borekitas familiar to most of us are savory. A bite of sweet bourekita changes our expectation. People will connect to cleanliness and flavor, and I am happy to give a platform to a tradition that is disappearing.” Ami Nebo – the baker who prepared the bourekitas for the festival – has been working as a baker in Lachmanina for three years. Before arriving at Lachmanina Confectionery, he worked as a graphic designer in the advertising industry. He came to the world of baking almost by accident: “My neighbor specialized in baking sourdough bread and taught me the craft.” Ami fell in love with making bread and growing sourdough and after several months of home baking he decided to make baking a profession “and I really like the change,” he says. Both of Ami’s parents emigrated as children from Poland, the pastries he grew up with belonged to the old homeland: raisin challah, bialy and mandelbrot, for example. Participating in the project brought back, “memories of my grandmother’s pastries that I haven’t made in a long time and with them, the understanding of how important it is to keep them alive.”