If you live here in Turkey, börek are one of those things you have to get used to – not that it is difficult!
Made with the local yufka or equivalent of filo pastry, these tasty börek will make their appearance everywhere from teaparties to family celebrations.
At first, they seem very different to us and something that we are forever doomed not to know how to make. However, if you make just a little effort, you will be rewarded as they are not difficult.I highly recommend trying some of these recipes: if you look at the
I highly recommend trying some of these recipes: if you look at the börek tab at the top of this blog, you’ll find some of my favourites.
Now, here’s a new shape to try out: it’s called muska, the name for these triangular-shaped pastries.
Muska also means amulet ie something to ward off evil. I really like this shape which makes a change from the ubiquitous sigara or cigarette-shaped ones. They make great little appetizers for before-dinner snacks, or they can of course be part of the meze spread.
Generally speaking, börek are filled with one of several typical fillings: white cheese and parsley (the most common), spinach, minced beef with onion and small black currants, or as here, pastrami, the spicy cured beef which is airdried and covered with an outer layer of garlic, fenugreek, cumin and flaked red pepper.
This is known as çemen.
When you buy it, you can buy it with or without this layer, depending on personal taste.
Aficionados of pastırma will only buy this speciality beef if it is sliced by hand as opposed to machine. I’m afraid I’m not at this level of sophistication yet!
If you visit the traditional shopping areas here in Istanbul eg Eminönü or Kadıköy, you will certainly see the reddish slabs of pastırma hanging with swathes of sucuk, the local spicy sausage, and probably with all the decorative wreaths of dried vegetables such as aubergine or red pepper.
We had friends coming round for one final festive tea party yesterday afternoon so I thought I’d make these muska pastries as one of my two tuzlu/savoury offerings along with a spinach and cheese quiche.
The best of both worlds, so to speak. I bought one packet of pastırma and 2 sheets of yufka.
Here’s the actual recipe for these tasty triangles with pastrami and melted cheese:
- Place one sheet of yufka on top of the other, cut down the middle (try using a pizza cutter, it works brilliantly) to make semicircles.
- Place them on top of each other and cut these layers into long strips 8cm/3in wide – or 3 fingers as Turkish recipes say!
- Discard any excess bits from the sides. (If using filo, cut the sheets into 16 elongated rectangles).
- Now, you can either cut these in half OR use the whole length, which is what I did.
- Place a strip of pastry facing lengthways away from you and put a spoonful of chopped pastırma, a tbsp of grated cheese and a little chopped parsley on the nearest edge.
- Take one corner of the length and fold it diagonally over the filling to form a triangle.
- Then take the opposite corner and fold over diagonally again. Keep on like this, you will find that the shape develops naturally, keep it nicely tight and continue like this to the end of the pastry.
- Seal the end with cold water. Continue until you have finished all your pastry.
These börek are resilient and will keep well on a plate covered with clingfilm in the fridge for a couple of days. They will freeze beautifully in a plastic container.I suggest making them one day when you have time on your hands and doing exactly that: freezing them so that all you have to do is haul them out when you have guests coming over! Perfect! BTW if you do freeze them, defrost at room temperature before frying.
suggest making them one day when you have time on your hands and doing exactly that: freezing them so that all you have to do is haul them out when you have guests coming over! Perfect!
BTW if you do freeze them, defrost at room temperature before frying.
- To fry, heat the sunflower oil in a shallow pan and fry the pastries over medium heat till golden brown, turning once.
- Place on some kitchen toweling to absorb extra oil before arranging on a serving dish.
Just for the books, these little triangles were very popular yesterday and I am sure your friends too will love them!
Pastırma is delicious and makes a welcome change from the white cheese filling.
Why don’t you try them next time you are having a gathering? Just remember that you do need to be in the kitchen yourself to fry them at the last minute!
Or better still, have someone else! They’re at their best when they’ve been freshly cooked.