Chrod bourek

Chrod bourek

Water-dipped pastry with cheese filling

By
From
The Complete Middle Eastern Cookbook
Serves
12
Photographer
Alan Benson

Occasionally during the compilation of this book I almost resorted to coin-tossing to decide which chapter I should place some recipes in — such as this particular gem, which both the Turks and the Armenians lay claim to.

As the Armenian mante uses a noodle-type dough, its origin probably dating from the influence of the Mongols, it is possible this water-dipped pastry was developed around the same time.

Cheese filling

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
300g feta cheese, crumbled
250g cottage or ricotta cheese
125g kasseri cheese, grated
4 eggs, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 tablespoons dill, chopped
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Water-dipped pastry

Quantity Ingredient
450g plain flour, plus extra for kneading and rolling
1 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, beaten well
125g butter, melted, for brushing

Method

  1. To make the cheese filling, finely mash the feta in a mixing bowl, using a fork. Combine with the remaining filling ingredients and refrigerate until required.
  2. To make the pastry, sift the flour and salt into a bowl and make a well in the centre. Add the eggs to the centre of the flour with 125 ml lukewarm water. Gradually stir the flour into the liquid to form a soft dough.
  3. Thoroughly knead the dough in the bowl. If it is still sticky, gradually add a little more sifted flour until the dough is smooth and comes away cleanly from the side of the bowl. The amount of flour depends on the size of the eggs and the flour’s absorption qualities. Shape the dough into a ball, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Rest for 30 minutes.
  4. Divide the dough into 10 even-sized balls. On a lightly floured work surface, shape one ball of dough into a square, dust it with flour and roll it out thinly. The final pastry sheet should be about 28 × 33 cm in size. Stack and cover as directed as each sheet is rolled. All but two sheets of pastry are to be boiled.
  5. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  6. Three-quarters fill a large saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Have a large bowl of cold water next to the pan, and spread a large, folded cloth next to this.
  7. Lift up one pastry sheet and lower it gradually into the boiling water. Boil for 1 minute, then scoop it out carefully with a large sieve, guiding the pastry into the sieve with a wooden spoon. Plunge the pastry into the cold water, leave it for 2 minutes, lift it out and drain it over the bowl. Turn the pastry onto the cloth and open it out carefully to drain and dry a little. Boil another three sheets, laying them separately on the cloth to drain. Any sheets that tear may still be used.
  8. Brush a 25 × 30 cm baking dish with melted butter and spread one uncooked pastry sheet in the dish. Brush it with butter and place the four boiled sheets of pastry on top, brushing each with butter as it is positioned. Spread the cheese filling evenly in the dish.
  9. Boil another four sheets of pastry as described above, using a dry cloth for draining. Place them on top of the filling, buttering each layer as it is placed in the dish. Top with the last uncooked pastry sheet, then trim the edges with a sharp knife, level with the top of the dish. Brush the top of the pie with the remaining butter.
  10. Bake for 1 hour, or until the top is golden brown and crisp. The centre sheets will be soft and tender. Rest the pie for 10 minutes before cutting it into serving portions. Serve hot as an appetiser, or as a main course for a light meal.

Note

  • Spinach, meat or chicken fillings may be used with this pastry. See ‘Savoury pastries’ in the index.
Tags:
The Complete Middle Eastern Cookbook
Tess
Mallos
Middle Eastern
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