They’re so easy to make, bake, and share. Traditionally in Israel, cheese Bourekas are shaped into triangles and non-dairy Bourekas are shaped into squares. This is how people who follow the Kashrut laws won’t get confused between the two pastries.
I love puff pastry. It is so versatile and simple to use in so many ways. As an Israeli, I always keep puff pastry in my freezer. Puff pastry has to be thawed before using it in recipes!
Bourekas are best when eaten fresh out of the oven when the dough is still flakey, and the filling is warm. Of the many Bourekas varieties out there, cheese Bourekas are my favorite for sure.
*The full recipe is in the recipe card below!
Frozen puff pastry: Puff pastry is a laminated dough made with butter or margarine. This dough is repeatedly folded and rolled out before baking. When the dough bakes, the layers puff up as moisture turns into steam, giving it a fantastic flaky texture. Making puff pastry from scratch is very time-consuming, so store-bought frozen puff pastry is a lifesaver. Puff pastry that I used and liked: Pepperidge (non-dairy), and Trader Joe’s (only during the holiday season).
How to thaw puff pastry:
The best way is to thaw frozen puff pastry in the refrigerator overnight or for 6-8 hours.
If you’re baking at the last minute, thaw at room temperature. Don’t let the dough sit on the countertop for too long; working with puff pastry is much easier when it’s cold.
When defrosted, handle the dough as little as possible to keep the fat in the dough nice and cold. If the dough becomes too sticky to work with, place it in the freezer for several minutes until it stabilizes.
Cheese: I prefer my bourekas with a combination of mozzarella cheese, Feta, and Cottage cheese. You can play with the cheeses you have on hand; just keep the same ratio as in the recipe. Other great options include farmer’s cheese, ricotta, kashkaval, goat cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, and cheddar. You can use low-fat cheeses, but in my opinion, this is not the recipe to cut calories.
Eggs: To bind the cheese filling together and for a shiny golden-brown finish.
How to Make Bourekas Step by Step
Before you start: Remove the puff pastry from the freezer and thaw it in the refrigerator for 6-8 hours.
Step 1: Mix two egg yolks with the cheese. Set aside.
Step 2: Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut pastry sheets into equal-sized squares, about 4ʺx 4ʺ (8×8 cm) large.
Step 3: Use a pastry brush to brush a light layer of the egg wash over the edges of each square. Place one generous tablespoon of the cheese filling in the center of each dough square. Fold them into triangles. Using a fork, pinch firmly along the outer open edge of the triangles to seal. Brush the tops with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Step 4: Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden. Serve warm or at room temperature.
What to Serve with Cheese Bourekas?
- Israeli salad (recipe): A refreshing salad of diced cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, and parsley dressed with lemon juice and olive oil is a great accompaniment to cheese bourekas.
- Hummus (recipe), veggies and olives: Serve your bourekas with hummus, cut veggies, and olives for a Middle Eastern inspired snack or meal.
- Roasted vegetables: Roasted vegetables such as eggplant, bell peppers, and zucchini make a great side dish to balance out the richness of the cheese in the bourekas.
- Tahini sauce (recipe), hard boiled egg, and pickles: A creamy Middle Eastern condiment made of raw tahini (tahini paste), garlic, lemon juice, water, and salt.
How to Store Leftover Bourekas?
Bourekas are best eaten on the same day they were made. Store leftover bourekas in an airtight container or zip-close bag in the refrigerator for up to two days. Reheat bourekas at 350°F/180°C for 7-10 minutes or until hot to the touch.
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- 1 lb (454 grams) frozen store-bought puff pastry thawed
- 7 oz (200 grams) feta cheese crumbled
- 1 cup cottage cheese or ricotta cheese
- ¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 tablespoon (10 grams) all-purpose flour plus a little more for dusting the working surface (if needed)
- 2 large eggs separated
- 1 Tablespoon (15 ml) water
- A handful of sesame seeds for garnish or poppy seeds
- Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C.
- Combine feta, cottage, mozzarella, flour, and two egg whites in a small mixing bowl. Use a fork to mix ingredients until well blended. Make sure to break up any large crumbles of feta. Set aside.
- Use a rolling pin to roll the puff pastry sheets on a lightly floured surface.
- Lay the puff pastry sheets flat and cut each sheet into equal-sized squares, about 4ʺx4ʺ (8×8 cm) large.
- Mix the egg yolks with a tablespoon of water.
- Use a pastry brush to brush a light layer of the egg wash over the edges of each square.
- Place one generous tablespoon of the cheese filling in the center of each dough square.
- Fold them into triangles. Using a fork, pinch firmly along the outer open edge of the triangles to seal.
- Set the bourekas on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet pan.
- Brush the tops with the egg wash.
- Sprinkle sesame seeds.
- Bake the bourekas until they are puffed and golden for 20-25 minutes.