If memory serves, then every single family celebration we’ve ever had at my parent’s home has featured börek, and consequently I do the same. They’re simply the best way to get a party started – crunchy cheesy pastries, perfect for nibbling with a glass of something lovely. Börek can be made in a variety of shapes, or even as a whole pie, but we tend to make sigara börek as pictured below. This particular batch was made for my husband’s birthday which happens to fall on Christmas Eve, and after preparing them I delivered half to a friend’s house so that they could cook them up and we could all munch together over the ubiquitous Zoom. Party on Dudes, 2020 style.
1 pack fresh filo pastry
1 block feta cheese
1 beaten egg
Handful finely chopped parsley
Veg oil for frying
- Crumble the cheese into a bowl, throw in the parsley, some pepper and the egg and mix well to combine thoroughly.
- Unroll the filo pastry and pop it onto a large chopping board. The aim here is to cut out as many isosceles triangles as possible that are roughly 10cm across the base and 15-20cm tall. There’s no strict size rules, but keep the layers all stacked together and you’ll be fine.
- Get yourself a teaspoon and a little bowl of water, and a plate to hold your prepared börek.
- Lay out one of your triangles with the short side nearest you and put a teaspoonful of the cheese mix across the bottom.
- Roll up the pastry around the cheese, folding in the outside edges as you go, then wipe a little water on the tip and complete the roll to stick it together.
- Set aside on the plate and continue. This bit takes a while, but I enjoy the process. Don’t stack the börek or they will stick together – if you need a second layer then put some baking paper between the layers.
- Cover the whole lot in cling film until you’re ready to cook them, you don’t want them to dry out and fall apart.
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan (you want it around 0.5cm deep) until a tiny piece of filo sizzles when you drop it in, then gently lower your first batch of börek into the pan.
- Cook until golden, then gently turn them over – keep an eye on your pan at all times, controlling the heat so you don’t burn them (we’ve all been there!).
- Place the cooked börek on a plate lined with kitchen roll to drain a little and carry on with the next batch until they’re all cooked.
- Slap away any hands that are trying to eat them as you go, but of course munch one yourself for ‘testing’ purposes. Either get someone else to serve them as you fry, or serve at the end so that they haven’t all been eaten before you get to them.
Note: I always use fresh rather than frozen filo because I find the that frozen stuff tends to frustratingly disintegrate when unrolled.