Börek is a traditional Turkish layered dough dish, generally filled with cheese, ground meat or vegetables. The most popular fillings are feta cheese, spinach, potatoes and ground meat flavored with a variety of herbs and spices.
The dough, called yufka in Turkish, is quite labor-intensive. Not many Turkish households attempt to prepare it themselves. They are sold in 3-5 sheet packs in supermarkets here. Yufka is essential for you to prepare this dish. Never ever substitute it for thin phyllo; it will not be the same. Phyllo is super thin and it will get too crispy in the oven. You may find yufka at your local Middle Eastern deli, but if not, you can also buy it from Amazon.
The traditional yufka sold in Turkey measures about 40-50 cm in diameter. If that is not the case with your batch, just don’t forget to lay them a little wrinkled. Do not stretch.
Feta Cheese & Mint Börek Recipe
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup of whole milk
- 2 cups of feta cheese
- 1 1/2 cups of fresh mint, chopped
- 3 yufkas
- 6 tablespoons butter, plus more for pan
- Preheat your oven to 350F.
- Crack the egg in a bowl, add the milk and whisk to combine well. This is your egg wash to prevent the layers from drying out.
- In a food processor, combine feta cheese and mint leaves and pulse to combine. Transfer it in a bowl and set aside.
- Butter an 8-inch fluted tart pan and lay your first yufka in the pan. The first layer should be twice the size of the pan as we will be wrapping everything once the filling and other layers are finished. Brush the layer generously with the egg wash. Tear the second layer of yufka in half and spread it on top of the bottom layer. Brush generously with the egg wash again.
- Spread half of the cheese filling on top of this layer. Cut 2 tbsp of butter into small cubes and scatter on the layer. Lay the second half of the second layer of yufka on top of the filling and brush with the egg wash again. Spread the rest of the cheese filling on top. Cut 2 tbsp of butter into small cubes and scatter on this layer as well. Tear the last piece of yufka in half and spread over the second layer of filling. Brush with the egg wash.
- Now we will start folding it. As you start to fold make sure to brush the top and bottom part of the final layer. This will help the top layer to glue tightly together. Once it is folded completely, brush the top with the egg wash again.
- At this point, you can sprinkle sesame seeds on top. Cut 2 tbsp of butter into small cubes and scatter on top again.
- Put your börek in the center rack of the oven and bake for 30 minutes. The top will get a golden color and will dry out, but the inner layers will be soft and creamy. Cool for 20 minutes before serving.
I love feta. I would definitely love trying this dish as feta pairs up with my beloved spinach. I wasnt aware of Yukfa. Only philo. I will read dolly’s post to learn a bit more about this dish. I was wondering if the yukfa doesn’t dry out a bit whilst exposed. Philo wastes no time in becoming really dry!! As usual your photos are spectacular.
I love the way the dough is folded, Cenk – it looks beautiful and delicious!
Ari (Baking and Books)
Not only are the photos gorgeous but I love the way they show how to make this recipe step by step. And of course, the recipe itself looks oh so tempting with that combo of feta and mint.
Linda, The Village Vegetable
wow this looks delicious. thanks for the step-by-step photographs – Lord knows i’ll need it. and i’m a visual learner… this look amazing! i can’t wait to try it! i’m soo into tarts right now.
Valentina – Since you apply the soaking mixture (egg and milk) to each layer, inside does not dry out.
Thanks to everyone for their nice comments. Since this is not something you see every day, I thought step-by-step pics would help. Enjoy!
thanks for the step by step demo of the recipe…its really helpful.Now i’ll definately try this.
Cenk, your blog is wonderful and I love just looking at your pictures. The borek looks delicious too. Using mint is an interesting variation, since I’m used to the parsley version. I might try it in a smaller batch though, just in case.
Can you please advise me where I can order YUFKA
in the US. I am from Turkey and would like to make
borek. Don’t care for PHILO dough.
Alis – Check out the two links in the post. You can buy it from Amazon or bestturkishfood.com.
Cenk, your blog is fantastic. Perfect way to put wonderful Turkish food in the spotlight.
Did you manage to find yufka at any of the San Francisco stores?
Thanks you Maya! Janet’s article has some information on where to find yufka, both online and in California. Check it out here (near the end).
I picked up a package of yufka at the Middle Eastern grocery yesterday. I’d never seen it before. I have all the ingredients I need to make this recipe. It looks delicious. I can’t wait to try it out tomorrow!