Flaky pastry dough, a savory filling made with ground beef, pomegranate molasses, fresh mint leaves, pine nuts, and spices — borek is a unique Turkish savory pastry! Serve it as a main dish with your choice of a veggie side.
Pastry dough isn’t just for sweet treats! The proof is in recipes like these Crimean meat pies called chebureki, a Turkish street food called gozleme, and Greek spanakopita triangles. I recently decided to try my hand at another Turkish dish called borek. You can think of it like meat pie wrapped in a flaky and buttery crust and topped with sesame seeds. I tried it with both filo and yukfa pastry dough, and both versions were terrific.
It’s also made a unique spiral shape that will impress the entire table. The filling is savory, and the ground beef will practically melt in your mouth after it’s done cooking.
This dish may look like it’s complicated to make, but all it involves is some quality ingredients and a bit of time — it’ll be ready in just about an hour! Check out the video below to see it come together.
INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Pastry Dough - You can use filo dough sheets or yufka pastry. Yufka is a Turkish pastry dough that’s thin, flaky, and delicious.
- Butter - Coat your pastry dough of choice with melted butter.
- Eggs - To create an egg wash! It will make the final results shine and help ensure a golden brown finish.
- Sesame Seeds - To top your savory pastry after it comes out of the oven.
- Ground Beef - I typically use ground beef with a 90/10 fat ratio for the meat filling. Note that you can use my filling for Greek spanakopita instead if you want to make this dish vegetarian.
- Pine Nuts - Toast your pine nuts before you add them to the filling to really bring out their flavor!
- Olive Oil - To sauté the ground beef.
- White Onions - You’ll sauté white onions along with the meat to bring out the natural flavors in both.
- Ground Cinnamon - For earthiness and warmth.
- Allspice - This spice boasts hints of cloves and pepper.
- Salt & Black Pepper - Just a bit for the filling. The pepper helps to accentuate the allspice and the other spices.
- Pomegranate Molasses - This unexpected ingredient adds so much to this dish! I usually buy mine online.
- Mint Leaves - Chop them up before adding them to the filling for a pop of freshness.
- Parsley - For even more added brightness and flavor.
HOW TO MAKE BOREK
1. Toast The Pine Nuts. Place a large skillet over medium heat and dry toast the pine nuts for about 2-3 minutes, or until they turn golden. Remove them from the pan and set aside.
2. Make The Meat Filling. Using the same skillet, add the olive oil and chopped onions. Sauté them over medium heat for 10 minutes, then add the ground beef, cinnamon, allspice, salt, pepper, and pomegranate molasses. Break up the meat as it cooks until it is no longer pink. Add the pine nuts, mint, and parsley, then set aside to cool.
3. Prepare The Egg Wash. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and coat a 10-inch cast iron skillet (or heavy bottom pan) with melted butter and set aside. Whisk the egg and egg yolk together in a small bowl and set aside to use as an egg wash later.
4. Coat The Pastry Dough. Place a sheet of filo or yufka on a clean surface and brush with melted butter — cover the rest with a damp towel to prevent them from drying out as you work. Repeat with 3 pastry sheets.
5. Assemble. Divide the meat filling into thirds and place one portion along the bottom edge of one filo sheet. Carefully roll it into a log shape. Coil the log into a spiral shape, starting in the center of the skillet. Connect a second log to the first by tucking the ends inside one another. Brush with melted butter to adhere. Continue with the third log to form the rest of the spiral. All three logs should touch, but be careful not to squish them.
6. Bake. Brush the top and sides with the egg wash, then sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 35 minutes, or until the top turns golden brown. Cut into 4 or 6 wedges and serve warm!
Is Borek Turkish Or Greek?
Borek is a Turkish savory, meat-filled pastry. It is often compared to Green spanakopita, which is why this question tends to come up!
What Is Sigara Borek Made Of?
Sigara borek is another take on this dish. It features feta cheese and a handful of spices like parsley and chives. Instead of being rolled into a spiral, this version is cut into spring roll-sized pieces.
Is Borek Fried?
Typically, no. You can fry it, but like to bake mine instead! It’s a lot easier to prepare in the oven, and you don’t have to deal with a lot of excess oil.
Borek (Savory Filled Pastry)
- 9 filo pastry sheets or yufka pastry
- 12 tablespoons butter melted
- 1 egg and 1 egg yolk, beaten
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- Meat Filling See Note 1
Meat Filling (See Note 1)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ⅓ cup pine nuts
- 2 white onions diced (2 cups total)
- 1 lb ground beef 90/10
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ cup pomegranate molasses
- ½ cup mint leaves chopped
- ½ cup parsley chopped
- In a large skillet over medium heat and dry toast the pine nuts for 2-3 minutes, or until golden. Remove pine nuts from pan and set aside.
- Add the oil to the skillet along with the onions. Saute over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add the ground beef, cinnamon, allspice, salt, pepper and pomegranate molasses. Stir to break up meat and cook until meat is no longer pink and any liquid has almost all evaporated. Stir through the pine nuts, mint and parsley, set aside to cool before rolling in filo pastry sheets.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 10-inch cast iron skillet or heavy bottom pan with melted butter. Set aside. Place the egg and egg yolk in a small bowl and whisk with fork. Set aside.
- Take a sheet of filo, place on a clean work surface and brush with melted butter (cover the remainder with a lightweight damp tea towel to stop them from drying out). Lay another sheet on top and brush with more melted butter to coat the entire sheet. Repeat for 3 layers total.
- Divide the meat filling into thirds. Place ⅓ of the meat filling along the bottom edge of filo. Using the aid of both hands or a long kitchen knife, carefully, roll up into a log.
- In the center of the skillet, coil this log into a spiral. Join a second log to the first by tucking the ends inside each other, brushing with melted to adhere. Continue forming the spiral. All 3 logs' sides should be in contact, but not tightly squished.
- Brush the top and side all over with the egg wash. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
- Bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown on top. Serve warm, cut into 4 or 6 wedges.
- You can also substitute for a spinach cheese filling, use the recipe for my Spanakopita Triangles.
*The information shown below is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.