All hail these mighty Israeli cheese bourekas! I’m not kidding when I say these are like little crack-filled pillows and highly addictive. Something about the salty cheese, crunchy puff pastry, and sprinkling of everything bagel seasoning on top just screams, “eat me!” and they disappear lightning fast! Are these cuties difficult to make? Nope! Do they take time? Sadly, yes. But I’m going to walk you through the process so the next time you host family and friends you can completely blow them away with homemade Israeli cheese bourekas. You’re welcome.
How do you make bourekas?
First, let’s start with the name. “Bourekas” is the term used in Israel, but stuffed puff pastry or phyllo bites are eaten all around the globe! These bite-size morsels are also referred to as borek, burek, byrek, and boureki depending on where in the world you’re located. I’m sure they have about 100 other names I’m not aware of, as well. Whatever you call them, they are delicious.
Alright, let’s make bourekas! If you’re using store bought puff pastry, they’re quite simple. Roll out the pastry, cut it into rectangles (or triangles, or circles… whatever shape you like!), then stuff with the filling of your choice.
What is in boureka filling?
Totally depends on where you are. In Israel, bourekas are commonly filled with either salty cheese or mashed potatoes. Less common fillings include ground meat (beef, lamb) or vegetables (spinach, mushroom). I really, really enjoy spinach and feta together, so that’s what I went with. Feel free to switch yours up!
After baking multiple batches and testing differences in the filling consistency (less spinach, more feta, vice versa) I came to a conclusion: I love what adding everything bagel seasoning does to these little guys! If you don’t like salty foods, try topping your bourekas with sesame seeds, but for everyone else out there, Trader Joe’s Everything But The Bagel seasoning is your new BFF!
Can you freeze Israeli bourekas?
Hell to the yes. Puff pastry appetizers like these are perfect to make ahead for dinner parties (or just your average weeknight freezer dive!). Pop the unbaked shaped bourekas into the freezer before brushing them with egg wash. When ready to bake, continue on with the recipe and add about 5-7 extra minutes cooking time (though this will vary depending on the size and thickness of your cheese bourekas, so keep an eye on them).
What shape are Israeli bourekas?
You can shape bourekas into triangles, squares, circles, rectangles — any shape you want. I think a lot of bakeries differentiate between pastry filling based on (1) shape, and (2) the seed that’s sprinkled on top. For instance, cheese bourekas may only have sesame seeds on them, while meat bourekas may have poppy seeds, and vegetable-stuffed bourekas may have garlic seeds etc. In that regard, the shape is really up to you. I chose to work with rectangles because they would fit nicely onto my baking sheet.
Should I double this recipe?
Well that’s a no brainer. YES.
If you make these Israeli Cheese Bourekas, please let me know by leaving a review below!
Looking for more appetizers? Check out some of my favorites below:
- Spanakopita spirals
- Roasted grape crostini with whipped ricotta
- Baked pita bites with cream cheese, smoked salmon, and dill
- Pear tartlets with pancetta and blue cheese
- Cranberry walnut crostini with ricotta, butternut squash, and balsamic
Israeli Cheese Bourekas
For the filling
- 1 cup ricotta
- ⅔ cup feta crumbled
- ⅓ cup parmesan grated
- 1 10 oz package frozen spinach, thawed, squeezed dry, and finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- ¾ tsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
For the pastry
- 1 package puff pastry SIZE, thawed
- 1 egg beaten
- sesame seeds for topping
- everything bagel seasoning for topping
For the filling
- Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl, then mix until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Cut puff pastry into strips about 2″ x 4″ (or up to 4.5″).
- Place ½ cup water in a small bowl next to your work station. Place 1 Tbsp filling in center of each puff pastry, then brush two longer sides with water using your finger. Fold top of pastry down onto bottom half, enclosing the filling completely. Repeat with remaining puff pastry and filling.
- If baking immediately, brush pastries with egg wash, then sprinkle with either sesame seeds or everything bagel seasoning. Bake for 32-35 minutes, or until pastries have puffed up and are a deep golden brown. Serve immediately.
- To freeze: cover bourekas completely with plastic wrap, then place in freezer BEFORE adding egg wash. When ready to bake, simply continue with egg wash, seeds on top, and add an additional 5-7 minutes cooking time, depending on size and thickness of bourekas. Serve immediately.