Herbed Cheese Bourekitas (Pastelikos). Photography: Dan Lev | Styling: Tami Segal
Herbed Cheese Bourekitas (Pastelikos). Photography: Dan Lev | Styling: Tami Segal
Recipe

Herbed Cheese Bourekitas (Pastelikos)

Bourekitas (Pastelikos in Jerusalem) by Michal Bouton, with an easy-to-work, 3 ingredient dough, and stuffed with an herby cheese filling

Cheese bourekitas (Pastelikos in Jerusalem) are made with a shortcrust dough, and anyone who has made them knows that rolling and folding the dough is a rather tedious matter. Shekem dough (dough made from 3 ingredients – cream (shamenet), flour (kemach), far (margarina, though butter can also be used) – the name is an acronym in Hebrew) is very elastic and pleasant to work with and thanks to it the task is much easier. I also find that its special texture works with the filling even better than the original dough.

Bourekitas and bourekas originated from the Balkan area, Greece and Turkey. The name is taken from the Turkish word “borek” which means pie, but bourekitas and bourekas are not shaped the same as pie – instead, they are shaped similar to Spanish and Portuguese pastries, for example, empanadas. Bourekitas are made from a shortcrust dough, and filled with any variety of things ranging from cheese to meat. Once upon a time, bourekitas were served for breakfast alongside hamindos (brown hard-boiled eggs) and some kind of vegetable salad.

Ingredients for Cheese Bourekitas

  • 3 cups less 2 tablespoons (400 grams) flour
  • 8.5 oz (240 grams) sour cream
  • 7 oz (200 grams) butter cold, cut into cubes
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking powder
  • a pinch Salt

For the filling:

  • 13 oz (370 grams) 9% white cheese
  • 1.5 oz (45 grams) kashkaval cheese finely grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 3 sprigs oregano leaves fresh
  • 3 sprigs thyme leaves fresh

For egg wash:

  • egg beaten

Instructions

Prepare the dough:

  • 1. Put all the ingredients together in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix until just uniform.

  • 2. Knead the dough a little on a floured surface and roll it out to a thickness of 1/10 of an inch (3 mm). Cut out 7 circles with a diameter of 4" (10 cm) and use them to line the bottom and sides of eac recess in the muffin tin (no need to oil).

  • 3. Cut out 7 circles of dough large enough to fit over the top of the lined recesses. Place these on a plate and refrigerate until ready for use.

Fill and bake:

  • 4. Heat the oven to 395F (200C) degrees.

  • 5. Mix the filling ingredients together and divide evenly into the lined mold. Cover with the circles of dough that we kept in the refrigerator, with the edges of the dough in the recesses pinch them together to seal. Brush with egg.

  • 6. Bake for 15-20 minutes until nicely golden. It is recommended to eat them fresh or freeze and reheat in a hot oven before serving.

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