Borekitas with Cheese Filling

These borekitas are a traditional Sephardic recipe made with pastry dough and ample cheese filling.

Twelve Turkish borekitas sprinkled with sesame seeds on a piece of parchment.

These small borekas, or borekitas, are made in the Sephardic-Greek style and are yet another recipe that I learned to make from my mother. There’s cheese both in the dough and the filling, making them a great source of calcium and an excellent snack for kids.–Orly Ziv

Regardless of whether you consider yourself a diva of homemade pastry dough or not, some days you’re just not up to the task. But you can still have something similar to borekitas. Just purchase a package of frozen all-butter puff pastry (shhhhhhh!), roll it out ever so slightly on a lightly floured surface, and pretend nothing’s amiss. Don’t forget to toss the pastry package in the trash before guests invade the kitchen.

Ten Turkish borekitas sprinkled with sesame seeds in a glass baking dish

Borekitas with Cheese Filling

  • Quick Glance
  • (9)
  • 45 M
  • 2 H, 15 M
  • Makes 30
5/5 - 9 reviews
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Ingredients

  • For the dough
  • For the filling
  • For the topping

Directions

For the dough

In a bowl, mix together the dough ingredients until crumbly. Gently shape the dough into a round, cover the bowl, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

For the filling

Mix the cheeses, egg, and potato, if using, in a bowl until smooth.

For the assembly

Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).

Divide the dough into 4 portions. Working with 1 portion dough at a time, turn it onto a lightly floured work surface and roll it to 1/8 inch thickness. Using a round cookie cutter or an upside-down glass that’s 3 to 3 1/2 inches in diameter, cut out circles from each portion. You should have 24 to 30 circles total.

Place 1 teaspoon filling in the center of each circle, fold in half to form a semicircle, and pinch the edges to seal. (You may have a little filling left over after making all the borekitas.) Transfer the filled pastries to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

For the topping

Brush the top of each borekita with the lightly beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. 

Remove the borekitas from the oven, let cool to warm or room temperature, and succumb. (It turns out that the baked borekitas freeze well, too, allowing you to make them ahead and thaw them for a few hours on the kitchen counter.) Originally published August 4, 2014.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

These borekitas are really very impressive for such little work. The filling came together very quickly and easily, and I used puff pastry instead of the pastry dough. I floured a marble slab and rolled the puff pastry sheet just a bit until it was about 10 inches square.

Then I cut each sheet of puff pastry into fourths. I put about 1/3 cup filling on each piece of pastry, wet the edges, folded each piece into a triangle,  and then sealed it with my fingers. I baked them for 30 minutes. I really want to make these again using phyllo dough and making the triangle shapes as well as the rolled cigar shapes. I am also going to play around a bit with the filling. I think that more feta is needed for a bit more of that tang and salty component that feta brings to everything. I will definitely be experimenting with this recipe in the future.

All my tasters liked this little borekitas recipe very much. It makes a tasty snack and could even be served as an hors d’oeuvre with a glass of wine. The dough is very easy to put together, and although it starts out crumbly it turns smooth and easy to handle if you shape it into a mound prior to resting.

I feel this dough is best mixed with your hands. I used a 3 1/2-inch round cutter and rolled the dough to a thickness of 1/8 inch and had a yield of 30 borekitas. I used ricotta with feta for the filling, and I’m pretty sure the filling would work just fine without the potato. I had 2 to 3 tablespoons filling left over, as I didn’t want to overfill the rounds because I thought they might open up during baking.  (The next time I make these borekitas, I may use a very, very small potato or perhaps eliminate the potato altogether.) I pinched the edges to seal as the recipe instructed, but these would also look nice if they were pressed with a fork or braided like an empanada.

I thought the dough was a little salty, but no one else mentioned it. The recipe stated 1 teaspoon salt, and I always use fine salt for baking, but perhaps it was supposed to be kosher salt, which would have made the dough a bit less salty. In the future, I will either cut the fine salt to 1/2 teaspoon or use 1 teaspoon of kosher salt. They took 25 minutes to turn golden brown. We tasted the borekitas after they cooled a bit and again after they cooled completely.

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Comments

  1. Just wondering if you could freeze them unbaked and then bake from frozen, adding maybe a few minutes to the baking time.

    1. Yes, Ms Inge Kohl, you can! You can bake them directly from the freezer, adding 5 to 10 minutes of baking time.

  2. My mom made these for me when I visited her and I was obsessed with them! I am so glad I found the recipe online. I don’t have ricotta cheese or farmers cheese for the filling. Should I use cottage cheese or cream cheese?

      1. Thanks, David! I ended up using cream cheese for the filling and they came out superb!! I am making them again now with ricotta cheese.

  3. I made the recipe tonight with my kids. We cheated and used the premade frozen empanada dough from the supermarket (shhhh!). Seriously, we’ve been cheating with that dough for borekas for about a year. It makes life way easier. We add a little (ok, a ton – of parmesan cheese). I skipped the feta because we didn’t have any. They came out pretty much like my mom and grandma used to. 🙂 Kids fight for these things at all family gatherings. Heck, that’s part of the family tradition. LOL. Thanks for the easy filling recipe and posting. Can’t wait to try it your way.

    PS: These things freeze really well. I leave them on the baking tray, uncooked and uncovered overnight. In the morning I transfer to a large Ziploc. They stay for a really long time and you can throw them in a toaster oven for 20 minutes and they’re ready to roll.

    1. Thanks for the great freezing tip, R Katz, and for your time saving store-bought dough tip. We are always looking for ways to make life simpler.

  4. I adore foods like this and this one is particularly fantastic what with cheese in both the dough and the filling. Another recipe bookmarked to do…

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