REPUBLIC OF TURKEY MINISTRY OF CULTURE AND TOURISM

Turkish Pastries

TURKISH VEGETARIAN COOKING

TURKISH PASTRIES (Börekler)

BOREK (Pastry Dishes)

Borek, or what you might call Turkish pastry, must be a very ancient food. A delicious one for us Turks, for we have a huge variety of making a borek dish and one that is almost everybody's favorite. Turks will talk for hours about the merits of a borek they once had at somebody's house, as they will of the water they drank out of some well-known spring. Boreks were also passionately described and praised for their lightness, achievements of layers and how it dissolved on your tongue.

There are layered, baked boreks. There are fried boreks that have different names depending on the filling used. Here I am only mentioning the fillings of fried greens and cheeses, but boreks are also filled with ground meat and meat cut into small pieces and richly flavoured with herbs and spices.

Boreks are everyday dishes as well as feast-day favorites. They are eaten hot or cold, as on picnics, and the pastry is also used to cover a rice or meat dish before such dishes are placed in the oven.

The layered borek means that the dough is rolled out with a long 1/2 inch wooden rolling pin and then spread out on a metal or oven-proof glass tray with milk and melted butter generously spooned in between layers. In the old days every borek was made from starch in this way, but nowadays what I would call 'sheet dough' is available commercially, so that preparing a borek dish no longer reguires a great deal of skill. (Filo dough sold frozen in the U.S. is a fairly good substitute). However, some skill and a certain amount of time is needed if a person is truly desirous of presenting a gourmet dish.

Boreks are a very satisfying and pleasing dish that are a meal in themselves hence also economically attractive.