This recipe comes from Luminous Vegans where it originally appears as a strudel. I decided to turn it into bourekas. Bourekas are a very popular food here in Israel where they are served on the street, in bakeries and cafes, and even at weddings and bar mitzvahs. They are also my own personal kryptonite. Now you know.
One type of boureka, using a pastry dough, came to Israel with the Bulgarian Jewish immigrants. Apparently, the bourekas made of filo dough are more traditional to Turkey and are a remnant of over 300 years of Ottoman rule in the Holy Land. Bourekas are usually filled with mashed potatoes, or cheese, spinach or mushroom. Most are savory, but some are sweet. They come in many different shapes – triangle, rectangle, half-circles, and rolls like these pups.
These bourekas are filled with a mushroom-eggplant filling made creamy with cashew “cheese” and wrapped into filo sheets and rolled up. If you have never worked with filo dough before, no need to panic, it’s really not hard.
Just follow the thaw directions on the side of your filo box. Some filo boxes suggest an overnight thaw in the fridge and several hours thawing on the counter.
Do not open the filo until your filling is ready, your oven is preheated, and you are ready to go! Once opened, cover the waiting filo sheets with a layer of plastic wrap and then a wrung-out, damp towel. This will keep them supple and make for easier rolling. If they get mangled and nasty, don’t freak out, just patch it all together the best you can. If two sheets are completely stuck together, that’s fine, just use it like that. That boureka will be a bit thicker but will taste great. Filo is actually pretty forgiving and what looks messy comes out just fine.
The other thing I want to point out is that when you brush each layer with olive oil, you are really brushing AS LIGHTLY as you can. You don’t want these all greasy! You can even spray the layers with olive oil cooking spray if you want to lower the fat even more.
If you can find whole wheat filo, obviously go with that!
This recipe does have several steps, so relax and enjoy. The result is truly worth it. I honestly think these are the best bourekas I have ever made and that is saying a lot!
Heads up: This recipe requires some cashew cheese that needs to be made ahead from soaked cashews. Either leave time for that or buy tofu cream cheese and use that.
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 Tbsp tahina
- 2-3 Tbsp water, just enough to make cheese smooth
- salt to taste
- 1 box (150g) baby Portobello or cremini mushrooms
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 onion
- 1 medium eggplant, stemmed and peeled
- 6 fresh sage leaves, minced (optional)
- Cashew cheese (above) or 4 Tbsp tofutti cream cheese
- 2 scallions, chopped
- 1 box filo (14-18 sheets), thawed as per instructions on the box
- olive oil for brushing
- Soak cashews in water to cover for 30 mins - 3 hours.
- Put cashews and remaining ingredients in food processor and process until smooth.
- Put in fridge while you prepare the rest of the dish.
- Place mushrooms, eggplant, onion and garlic in food processor.
- Pulse until mixture is well chopped but not total mush.
- Warm 1 Tbsp olive oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat.
- Add chopped veggie mix, chopped sage, and saute for 10-12 minutes or until all liquid cooks off.
- Stir in scallions.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Remove from heat and stir in the cashew cheese.
- Set aside to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 200C.
- Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly oil.
- Lay one sheet of filo on your work surface.
- Brush it lightly with olive oil.
- Fold sheet in half lengthwise and brush again with oil.
- Place 2 Tbsp filling at the end closest to you.
- Fold both sides over until they meet in the middle.
- Roll tightly away from you.
- Place on prepared tray and brush with oil.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes until golden brown.