Borekas are nothing short of edible perfection--heavenly little
parcels of dough crisped with hot oil or melted butter and stuffed with
any number of delicious savory ingredients. Nutritious and filling,
they make a satisfying meal any time of day. And like Italy's calzone,
Spain's empanada, and India's samosa, these pastries are
self-contained, which makes them the perfect portable snack to power an
afternoon spent browsing.
Originally from Turkey, borekas (which comes from the Turkish word
boerek, or pie) belong within the larger category of small savory pies
common throughout the Middle East, North Africa, and parts of Asia.
They are a favorite dish among Sephardic Jews who serve them on
holidays and other celebratory occasions. According to The Book of
Jewish Food (Knopf, 1996) by Claudia Roden, Iberian Jews included
borekas as part of their Sabbath meals as early as the 16th century--a
practice that continues today. Borekas are also popular throughout
Israel, both as a breakfast dish and common street food.
Fillings for borekas can include things such as cheese, potatoes,
spinach, or eggplant, and they will vary from community to community.
Due to the fact that they require time to make, pies such as borekas
have usually been made for weddings, bar mitzvahs, the Sabbath and