Cook the Book: Cheese Bourekas

Cook the Book: Cheese Bourekas

[Photographs: Eilon Paz]

In Israel, bourekas are the quick breakfast or lunch of choice. These savory pastries made their way to the Middle East by way of the Balkans and can be filled with all sorts of cheeses and veggies. Janna Gur, author of The Book of New Israeli Food, includes several boureka recipes representing many of the filling combinations and doughs that make this pastry so popular.

These Cheese Bourekas are ideal for boureka novices who aren't yet ready to start making their own puffy pastry dough. Using the store-bought stuff, these bourekas are stuffed with a wonderfully salty mix of Israeli cheese including gvina levana, kashkaval, and brinza. These exotic cheeses aren't the easiest to find so ricotta, parmesan, and feta can also be subbed in. The cheese is bound with a couple of egg yolks and a bit of cornstarch, pinched into triangles of puff pastry, and sprinkled with sesame seeds before being baked.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of The Book of New Israeli Food to give away this week.

Reprinted with permission from The Book of New Israeli Food by Janna Gur. Copyright © 2007. Published by Schocken Books, a division of Random House, Inc. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.

  • Yield:20 large bourekas
  • Active time: 20 minutes
  • Total time:45 minutes


  • The Cheese Filling:
  • 1 pound, 2 ounces gvina levana (fresh white cheese) or ricotta (5% fat)
  • 9 ounces kashkaval or Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 9 ounces brinza or feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • For the pastry:
  • 3 pounds, 5 ounces puff pastry dough
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for brushing
  • Sesame seeds for garnishing


  1. 1.

    Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).

  2. 2.

    Beat all the ingredients for the filling until smooth.

  3. 3.

    Roll the dough into a 1/4 inch (1/2 cm) thick sheet. Cut into 5-inch (12-cm) squares. Put one tablespoon of the filling in the center of each square, fold diagonally to form a triangle and pinch the edges together. Arrange the bourekas with sufficient space between them on a tray lined with baking paper.

  4. 4.

    Brush the triangles with the beaten egg and sprinkle sesame seeds on top.

  5. 5.

    Bake for about 30 minutes until the bourekas are golden and plump and smell delicious.