First produced in what is now Turkey, the term ‘borek’ refers to any filo-based pastry and has a seemingly inexhaustible number of variations across regions formerly part of the Ottoman Empire. So simple and quick to make are borek that it is easy to see why they have become popular across a large area. This recipe for Feta and Spinach Borek is, in particular, very speedy, with the flavour of the ingredients being allowed to speak for themselves. Of course, more intricate combinations may be attempted, but it seems a shame to over-complicate such an effortless treat.
Though these borek are baked, it is also acceptable and perhaps more common to deep fry them. My personal preference is for filo to be as light, airy and healthy as possible so I tend to eschew using too much oil. However, the first borek I ever had at Bestival, a music festival on the Isle of Wight, were certainly fried and turned out absolutely divine. So, if you’re confident in your filo wrapping technique – fry away!
My main point of difficulty when deciding to develop a recipe for spinach and feta borek was whether to make my own filo or speed proceedings up and buy some from the shop. Usually, I’m a staunch advocate of making everything at home, but when even professional chefs in high-quality restaurants buy filo – it just eats up so much time – my faith wavers. So after consultation with followers, I decided to purchase pre-made filo. I apologise if you feel that this isn’t particularly frugal, but pre-rolled pastry is often on sale for £1 per pack*.
*Don’t you dare buy pre-made shortcrust pastry.
Feta and Spinach Borek
8 20cm squares of filo pastry
250g feta cheese
100g fresh spinach
2 eggs, beaten
1 tbsp olive oil
Quickly blanch the spinach by adding it to boiling water in a large bowl for 1 minute. Squeeze any excess liquid from the leaves and roughly chop.
Place the prepared spinach, feta and beaten eggs in a large mixing bowl and whisk until relatively smooth.
For each borek you’ll need two squares of filo pastry. Place one on top of the other – misaligned – so each corner is pointing in a different direction. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C(fan).
Spoon ¼ of the feta mixture into the centre of each unformed parcel. Fold in the corners of the first filo sheet, followed by the second. Repeat this process for each parcel and brush gently with olive oil.
Transfer the uncooked borek to a lightly oiled baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through. Serve immediately or refrigerate and consume within 1-2 days.
Cost: Despite buying filo from the shop, these borek are so simple they can only be inexpensive. Indeed, feta and spinach are both cost-effective ingredients, particularly as they have fantastic flavour that needn’t be supported. As such, this recipe will set you back no more than around £3.50.
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