Burekitas are a type of small hand pies that are well known in any Sephardic household.
They are the smaller version of Burekas pastries, which are usually made with filo dough or puff pastry and are shaped into a triangular.
Burekitas are smaller, usually made with pie type thicker dough, cut into circles and folded over. The varieties of recipes are many, but all aim at the same result: crumbly, crispy dough with savory filling.
These little pastries are traditionally served for brunch on Saturday, with an array of fresh and cooked salads, hard boiled eggs or egg salad, yogurt, olives and other condiments. However, by now they are served any time, as a light meal or a snack.
No doubt these pastries require a bit of work, but the result is so tasty, it’s definitely well worth the effort. I’m sure you’ll agree once you’ll make and taste these pastries.
* The dough is referred to as “boiled dough” in Sephardic households, although only the liquids are boiled. Some recipes use only oil, but this one is my favorite for its wonderful flavor, texture and ease of rolling.
* The potato-cheese filling shown here is the most commonly used. In some older recipes, cooked rice is used instead of the potatoes, but I can see why potatoes took over, as they offer a creamier texture. Other options are: cooked zucchini-tomato (shown HERE), or roasted eggplant with feta cheese.
* Kashkaval cheese is a type of semi-soft yellow cheese from the Balkan. If you can’t find it, use mild Cheddar cheese instead.
* The baked Burekitas freeze well, in an airtight container, for up to a month. For best results, reheat them in a toaster oven, NOT the microwave.
Prep time: 1 hour
Chilling time: 1 hour
Baking time: 25-30 minutes
For the dough:
1 stick (115 grams) butter
½ cup light olive oil
1 cup water
1 tsp salt
3 Tbs vinegar
3 ½ cups flour
For the filling:
2 medium potatoes
¼ cup feta cheese
¼ cup grated Kashkaval cheese (or mild cheddar)
2 Tbs finely grated Pecorino cheese (or Parmesan)
¼ cup Quark cheese (or thick yogurt)
1 L egg + 1 L egg white (keep the yolk for the egg wash)
Freshly ground black pepper and salt, to taste
For the topping:
1 egg yolk mix with 2 Tbs water
1. The dough: in a medium pot, combine the butter, oil and water. Bring to a boil and take off the heat. Let cool for a minute and add the salt and vinegar and mix. Add the flour and mix until the dough separates from the sides of the pot. Place in the fridge for 1 hour.
2. The filling: place the potatoes in a small pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook for about 30 minutes, or until soft. Drain and bring to room temperature. Peel and mash coarsely with a fork. Add the rest of the ingredients for the filling and mix to a coarse mixture.
3. Preheat the oven to 365F (185C). Line two baking sheet pans with baking paper.
4. Divide the dough in two. Roll one portion on a lightly floured work space, to a thickness of about 0.2″ (0.5cm). Using a 3” (7.5cm) glass, or cookie cutter, cut circles out of the dough. Place 1 tsp of the filling on each circle of dough and fold. Twist the ends together with your fingers and place in the pan. Repeat with the rest of the dough and scraps. Brush the pastries with egg wash and sprinkle sesame seeds on top.
5. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the pastries are golden-brown. Serve warm.