Rabu, 17 September 2008

Flaky Spinach Pie (Ispanaklı Tepsi Böreği)

After gathering courage to make my mom's zucchini börek, I now am familiar with using phllyo dough for other various börek recipes. As I mentioned before börek is a common term for all pastries that use Turkish yufka i.e. phllyo dough. Depending on the filling, the shape and sometimes the region the term börek is preceded by a descriptive noun: kabak böreği (zucchini börek), ıspanak böreği (spinach börek), kıymalı börek (börek with ground meat) or su böreği (water/boiled börek), tepsi böreği (layered börek) etc.

Spinach börek is definitely a nation-wide favorite. It's made for and served at afternoon tea gatherings; sold by street vendors or patisseries early in the morning for breakfast; or can be a whole meal for lunch or dinner served with a yogurt beverage, ayran, or coke, but 95% of the time with tea.

Although spinach börek can be made in different styles such as bundles, rolls, or spiral, the most common version is layered, tepsi in Turkish which literary translates as "tray."

20 phyllo dough sheets (1 packet usually has 40)
1 lb fresh or frozen spinach
1/2 cup white cheese or feta
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/3 cup olive oil (I prefer olive oil, but others can be used too)
1 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
black seeds (nigella seeds)

-Thaw phyllos according to the instructions on the package.
-Put fresh spinach in a bowl. Sprinkle a little bit of salt. Rub spinach leaves with your fingers until wilted. Drain excessive water. (If you're using frozen spinach, let it thaw first. Squeeze to drain excessive water. Sprinkle salt and rub spinach leaves with your fingers. Drain excessive water once again)
-Add feta, black pepper, and crushed red pepper to spinach and mix well.
-In another bowl beat the eggs and add milk and olive oil. Mix well.
-Grease an 8 X 11.5 pan (or in a pan that's approximately the same size with phyllo sheets)
-Layer half of phyllo dough sheets in the pan by brushing every single layer generously with the egg+milk+oil mixture.
-On the 10th phyllo sprinkle spinach mix.
-Cut the 1 tbsp butter in to small pieces and sprinkle on spinach.
-Keep layering the rest of phyllos by brushing each layer with the mixture.
-After putting down the last phyllo, pour whatever is left from the egg+milk+oil mixture on top.
-Sprinkle the pie with black (nigella) seeds or sessame seeds or neither.
-Bake in a preheated oven at 390F for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.
-Wait for 10-15 minutes and then cut into square pieces.
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