Prep. time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: approx. 1 hour
Borek has become so much a part of the Turkish diet that rarely a day goes by without Turks having one of these flaky little pastries. And no there's no right time to enjoy them: they're good for breakfast, as a midday snack, to ward off mid-afternoon hunger, or for supper with plain yogurt and/or a salad. There should be a whole book devoted to boreks.
In my opinion, the best boreks were the ones my mother used to make during the Aegean winter with freshly picked greens. They were so aromatic and flavorful, and promised a special dinner. I miss this ritual every winter. Over time, I've learned to cook with the wild greens found here, and I use them to fill my boreks in the summer. For the moment, I'm offering you a meat version, perfect for snowstorms!
- Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F.
- Lightly oil a large baking sheet; set aside.
- Prepare the filling: in a large skillet, heat 2 Tbsp. oil over medium heat. Add the pistachios and pinenuts and cook, stirring, for one minute. Using a skimmer, transfer them to a plate.
- In a skillet, sweat the onion. Add the beef and brown for a few minutes, stirring. Add the tomato paste and continue cooking until the beef is completely cooked and the liquid has evaporated. Add the cumin, salt and pepper.
- Add the nuts back into the pan, along with the raisins and parsley, and mix well. Cool completely before filling the phyllo sheets.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the milk and remaining oil. Lay out the phyllo sheets on a work surface and cover with a damp kitchen towel. Set aside.
- Once the filling has cooled, make the boreks. For each one, use 2 sheets of phyllo, laid one over the other. Brush the entire surface with the milk/oil mixture. Place 2-3 Tbsp. of filling in a 2.5 cm (1")-wide strip along the long edge of the phyllo. Roll up, enclosing the filling, all the way to the other side. Twist the roll around itself into a snail shape. As you finish, place each borek on the baking sheet, leaving a 2 cm space in between.
- In a small bowl, beat the egg yolk with a drop of water. Brush each borek with the glaze and sprinkle with caraway seeds.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes. Let the boreks cool for 10 minutes before serving.
For those who read in French, offer her "Roots" and dive into the heart of Turkish cuisine for 247 pages of happiness in all simplicity with Chef Fisun Ercan.
Or visit her at Bika Farm & Cuisine in Monteregie, Queb.
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