Remember that show, the one about nothing? Well it was very flattered in Israel by a knock-off version whose name I cannot recall and is presently eluding my web searches. In it the Kramer character goes to a new bourekas bakery in his neighborhood (it all takes place in Tel Aviv) and is shocked to discover that the baker has disrupted the unwritten rule of fillings and shapes. For instance a potato boureka is always a rectangle, a triangle is always cheese, a pizza filling is a cylinder, while spinach filled resembles a pastry knot. One can picture the physical reaction of this character as he bites into a triangle shaped boureka and discovers that it is filled with spinach!
I was equally shocked to discover this past week that there are several different doughs that can be used to make this tasty little treats since all of the Israeli versions are made with the same flaky pastry dough. Much like the knish, there are regional variants in dough and filling across the Jewish communities of the near east and south eastern Europe. From Marrakesh to Salonika these small filled pies were popular additions to party menus. The word itself comes from the Turkish word for pie.
I decided to try a traditional Turkish recipe that Claudia Roden offers and filled them with a salmon, onion and cheese filling.
Recipe after the break
Salmon Cheese Bourekas
For the dough:
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
2.5 cups of all purpose flour
Combine all ingredients in a mixer or bowl, knead until soft shiny and elastic. It can be used immediately and should used at room temperature.
For the filling:
1 cup shredded cooked salmon (mine was leftover from Shabbat dinner and season with sumac, salt and pepper)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup Pecorino or Parmesan cheese (not the stuff in the green can!)
1 small onion diced
salt and pepper to taste
Mix all of the filling ingredients in a bowl, set aside.
Roll out dough on a board. Use no flour. This dough is very oily and will naturally lubricated the rolling pin and board. Once the dough is about 1/4 inch thick use a 3 inch biscuit cutter to cut rounds. Place about 1 tb spoon of filling in each one. Press the sides together until they stick. Place on a baking sheet. Knead dough scraps into a ball, roll out and repeat until all the dough is used.
When they are all filled arrange on a baking sheet. Brush with an egg wash or butter and bake for 30 minutes at 350.
Allow to cool slightly and enjoy.