Saturday, June 11, 2011

Cheese Bourekas

Every now and then, I go on a meat strike. I love meat, but if I have it too many days in a row, I need a break and turn into a vegetarian for a few days (sometime longer). This past weeks was meat intensive. First there was a veal roast, then the Japanese stir fry, followed by a chicken dish. I needed a break from the carnivorous life and bourekas were the prefect meal. It's still cloudy and cool here, so having something warm and comforting was just what I wanted.

Since bourekas themselves aren't really healthy, and are more of a side dish/starter than a main meal, I like having lots of salads to go with them. Usually I make a leafy green salad and an Israeli salad, along with some hard boiled eggs, and call it a meal. There are tons of different variations for making bourekas, but these are simple, easy, and really good. These also freeze really well, so if you find yourself with too many bourekas, feel free to put them in the freeze with the egg wash already on them. All you have to do the next time is throw them in the oven.

Makes 24 bourekas

1 1.1 pounds/490 gram package of puff pastry sheets
1 8 ounce pack of cream cheese
8 ounces of feta cheese
2 eggs
2 tablespoons sesame seeds (optional)

Preheat oven to 350ºF/175ºC. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpats. In a bowl, mix the cream cheese, feta cheese, and 1 egg. Roll out the puff pastry sheets so that they are about 16"x12" (41x31 cm). If your dough comes in a different shape than the traditional rectangle we get in America, just try cutting out individual squares that are about 4"x4" (10cm/10cm) on each side. Cut your dough into 12 even squares as best as you can (half of mine always turn into rectangles, so don't worry if this isn't perfect).

Scoop about 1 heaping tablespoon of the cheese mixture into the middle of each square of dough. Fold the dough in half to form a triangle with the cheese in the middle. Press the edges together. If you really want to make sure these do not burst at the seams while baking, you can crimp down the edges with a fork.

Place each boureka on the baking sheet as you finish, keeping at least 3/4" space between each one. Once the shapes are complete, whisk the remaining egg. Apply a thin layer of this egg wash on top of all the bourekas. Next, sprinkle them with sesame seeds (if using). Bake for about 40 minutes, until golden and puffed up. Eat while warm.

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