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Spinach and Feta Cheese Burekas

April 12, 2021
Spinach and Feta Cheese Burekas

My version of Proust’s madeleine is a buttery pocket-pastry filled with Bulgarian feta cheese and spinach, called a bureka by Jews of Turkish and of Balkan origin. Until recently, I hadn’t tasted a really good bureka since the early 1970s, when I was foreign press attaché to then-Mayor of Jerusalem, Teddy Kollek. In those days, every Friday morning, a Moroccan doorman from the municipality named Simantov would enter the office carrying crispy, hot-from-the-oven triangular buns—on a tray with Turkish coffee spiked with cardamom pods. At a very important time in my life, I bit into the crunchy pastry and tasted the salty feta and earthy spinach. The flavor was heavenly, and I looked forward to this treat every Friday morning.

Featured in: The Simple Way To Make the Ultimate ‘Burekas’


For the filling

  • 8-10ounces blanched spinach, fresh or frozen (thawed and drained well if frozen)
  • 1large egg
  • 12ounces Bulgarian feta
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the dough

  • ½pound fillo dough (1 sleeve)
  • 1 ½cups butter (3 sticks) melted
  • 1large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1tablespoon nigella or black sesame seeds
  • 1tablespoon roasted sesame seeds
Yield: About 36 burekas


To make the filling

  • Step 1

    To make the filling, pulse the spinach, egg, and feta in a food processor just until the spinach is chopped and the cheese mixed in. Add freshly ground black pepper to taste. Set aside.

To make the dough

  • Step 1

    Cut the fillo lengthwise into 3 strips and cover with a moist towel to prevent breaking. Take one strip and butter with a pastry brush. Place about 2 teaspoons of filling at the bottom of the strip. Fold to make a triangle and continue folding until the end of the strip (like you fold a flag). Place completed triangle on the prepared baking sheets.

  • Step 2

    Repeat with the remaining fillo strips, using the rest of the filling. Reserve any leftover fillo for another use.

  • Step 3

    Brush the top of each triangle with the egg wash and sprinkle with sesame and nigella seeds. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown.