a general Turkish term for filled pastries, related to other Mediterranean words for this delicacy: boureki (Greece), pierogi (Italy), pirochki (Russia).
The filling is often white
sheep's milk cheese and
a chopped vegetable such as parsley or spinach.
Often the dough is paper-thin yufka (phyllo)
layered, rolled or folded around the
ingredients, then baked, steamed or
Börek is eaten for breakfast, lunch, for a snack, or packed and eaten cold on the road. It's varied, versatile, delicious, inexpensive and, in many of its forms, vegetarian.
Like gözleme (Turkish crêpes), börek is
distinguished by variety, and can often
be found in these varieties at a börekçi (börek shop):
karışık = with everything
kaşar peynirli = with
yellow cow's milk cheese
kıymalı= with ground
patatesli = with mashed
peynirli = with white
sheep's milk cheese (feta)
My favorite böreks include:
"Puff" börek: little
triangular pillows of pastry filled
with white cheese and chopped parsley,
then deep-fried (which is when they puff up).
"Cigarette" börek: cigar-shaped
tubes of pastry rolled around white
cheese and chopped parsley, then deep-fried.
"Water" börek: layers
of thin dough sprinkled with white
cheese and chopped parsley, then steamed,
cut into squares and served hot or
cold, often for breakfast or as a snack—a kind of simple Turkish lasagna.
—by Tom Brosnahan