- Stella Hanan Cohen
Bourekas with Potato & Cheese
Bourekas are irresistible savoury pastry turnovers that have become so popular in Israel and indeed all over the world. The traditional hand pies are made with a crisp pastry encasing a variety of vegetarian delectable fillings, potato and cheese, spinach and feta, pumpkin, cinnamon and cheese, or the luscious aubergine, tomato and onion, each with their distinctive shape and topping. In the 15th century the Jewish Iberian exiles adapted their Spanish empanadas with the Turkish börek when they settled in the Ottoman Empire. The Judeo-Spanish name bourekas, (or bourekitas as they are affectionately known as in the diminutive), carries with it centuries of Jewish cultural history.
The most iconic Rhodes Island style bourekas are half-moon shaped pies made with a cheese pastry encasing an indulgent potato and Greek cheese filling. This is my mother’s handwritten recipe for the pastry and the potato filling which includes cooked rice for that extra chewiness.
Bourekas are wonderful served hard boiled eggs, (huevos haminados), and a salad for brunch, as a meze, at teatime, and are just wonderful at any festive table! Enjoy