Ana Sortun and Maura Kilpatrick, the bakers behind Boston’s Middle Eastern pastry shop Sofra, research the region’s spices and signature flavors while incorporating them into their own sweet and savory goods in Soframiz.
Borek is a pie or pastry that probably originated in Eastern Europe and came to Turkey with the Ottomans. It is made with yufka dough, a thin, almost phyllolike pastry. There are numerous varieties of borek; some are filled with meat, others with cheese, and still others with vegetables. Borek can be rolled, folded, stuffed, twisted, or layered in a baking pan, like this one. This recipe is called su borek, which means “water pastry,” probably referring to the boiled-noodle texture resulting from layering and soaking the pie in yogurt and egg until the center becomes almost like a kugel, lasagna, or dumpling, while the top becomes crisp. I prefer to use store-bought yufka in this recipe because it is thinner than both of the yufka recipes in this book. If you have leftovers, cut the cold borek into small pieces and crisp them in a pan for a perfect afternoon snack or breakfast item.
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Butter an 8-inch square baking dish or an 11 by 7-inch baking pan with 1 tablespoon of the melted butter.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, yogurt, salt, and whole eggs until very smooth. Whisk in the remaining 7 tablespoons of melted butter.
- Cut the yufka so that you have about eight large pieces that cover the bottom of the pan. It’s okay if they don’t fit the pan perfectly or if the edges hang over; you can fold everything over the top at the end of assembling.
- Place one layer of yufka on the bottom of the pan and brush lavishly with the milk mixture. Repeat until you have four layers of brushed pastry. Distribute the mozzarella over the top of the four soaked yufka layers. Place another four layers of yufka over the cheese filling, brushing with the milk mixture between every layer.
- Using a small knife, cut the borek, scoring the pastry so that the custard seeps into the cuts. Make 10 to 12 cuts. It doesn’t matter if it breaks up the pastry; you can press it back down with your hands. You don’t need to worry about doing it neatly; the cuts will disappear while the borek bakes.
- Mix the remaining milk mixture with the egg yolks and flour. Pour over the top and let soak for 20 minutes. Eventually, the liquid soaks into the pie, so don’t worry if it seems like a lot. Sprinkle the top with the nigella seeds.
- Place the borek in the oven and lower the heat to 350°F. Bake for about 50 minutes, until golden on top and puffy. Let rest for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.
Reprinted with permission from Soframiz by Ana Sortun and Maura Kilpatrick, 2016. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.