Bourekia are found all over the Middle East. These little delicious pies are generally fried but for a healthier option can be cooked in the oven, once glazed with oil. Great finger food for parties.
This is a recipe taken from my book “Androula’s Kitchen – Cyprus on a Plate” . My Aunt Eugenia very generously took the time to show my cousin and I how to make some of the best – loved foods of Cyprus especially for the book.
These are delicious sweet little parcels of delight often eaten at parties.
Using the Basic Pasta dough quantities given should make approximately 30 parcels.
Basic Pasta Dough
BASIC PASTA DOUGH
250g plain white flour
250g wholemeal flour
Pinch of salt
Pinch of cinnamon (cinnamon is only used for sweet recipes)
1 tablespoon of sunflower oil
Water to mix into stiff dough (approximately 284ml)
Mix all the dry ingredients together then add the oil and mix in water to gradually bring together the ingredients to form a stiff dough. Knead the dough really well on a board for about 10 – 15 minutes or until it is smooth and elastic; the secret of good pasta dough is in the kneading. Leave to rest for at least 2 hours or keep in the fridge in a polythene bag for use the next day.
250g soft white unsalted fresh anari (a firm ricotta could be used if this isn’t available)
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon caster sugar
Few drops of rosewater
Few drops of vanilla essence or vanilla sugar
Zest of 1 orange
Mix all the ingredients for the filling together in a bowl.
Roll out the pasta thinly using a long thin rolling pin. My Aunt Eugenia uses a long plain round rolling pin, 4cm diameter and about 46cm long, to roll her pasta and, given her many years of experience, she is an expert in rolling the pasta very thinly. The secret, she tells us, is in keeping the board and pasta well floured so that it doesn’t stick. At the beginning roll out into a round and keep quarter turning the pasta to allow it to be rolled evenly. Once the pasta dough has become big enough Auntie showed us the technique of wrapping the dough around the pin and rolling backwards and forwards. This is a very good way of getting very thin pastry and is the local technique for making filo pastry. It also makes excellent use of a limited work surface as you are rolling several layers at the same time. But this takes practice and a long rolling pin. You also need a fairly good size pastry board or surface. When the pastry is about 2mm thin you can start to put your filling down.
Using a teaspoon place a row of small firm mounds of filling spaced about 2cm apart and about 4– 5cm. in from the edge, but this is dependent on the size of cup or glass that you’re using as a cutter. Then fold the edge of the pastry over the top of the mounds. Firm down the pasta dough in front and between the mounds, then use an espresso coffee cup or small glass to make small half-moon shapes, this also seals the two edges of the pasta parcels together.
You can also fill these with a savoury mixture of fried onion, mince and mint instead of the anari.