Ok, so I’m a lazy person, right? We all know that.
I love to cook, I love to eat, I’m constantly hungry, but I’m lazy. It doesn’t mean I don’t cook (otherwise this blog would have been kind of pointless…) But I don’t like to cook something that makes me work too hard for my food.
Why am I saying that? Because being Gluten-free, while generally doesn’t bother me at all, has one small disadvantage – I am being sort of left out on good pastries and please; let me explain:
so yeah we all know that you can buy gluten-free pastries, or flours but they are: expensive, and most of the time not so worthy, at least not the ones I’ve tasted (again, generally speaking without making exceptions). Of course there are plenty of people who work days and nights to find some sense in gluten-free flour mixing and making some logic in quantities and measurements that should be put to get the perfect bread/cake/cookie etc. Of course I could do that…. The art of baking is just another skill that needs to be mastered… but I’m lazy so leave me alone.
And I’m a dentistry student; I’m busy saving people’s…teeth and… stuff….
Seriously though, since my gluten intolerance was discovered, I was lucky enough not to suffer so much from pastry cravings but they do occur sometimes and I usually manage to hang in there, despite the fact that right next to my house is an amazing bakery with the most amazing stuff that I can do nothing about except stare and drool.
Börek, or in its Israeli name Bourekas is a Turkish-originated savory pastry which is prevalent in many Mediterranean countries in various shapes and forms. They normally contain cheese but may contain other things like potatoes or spinach. In Israel all of them, especially the cheese one is a huge hit. You cannot turn a corner without hitting some bakery that just had a hot batch out of the oven. It is the perfect snack that you can just buy and take away with you and enjoy it while it’s hot and it’s one of the pastries I miss the most.
Like many of my best recipes, this one came by mistake. I bought a box of tofu and by mistake I bought tofu with dill – which is a herb I don’t like much. I obviously didn’t want to throw it away so I thought “hmmm, what goes well with dill? – Cheese! Let’s make a vegan cheese Börek!” the cheese in the Börek needs to be somewhat viscous which is why the tofu went really well with the cashew cheese. Since that day, I made this dish a bunch of times more and now, I actually buy dill for this dish alone. I am still not a big fan of this herb but in small portions, it goes really well with it.
Börek is usually made either with Phyllo dough or with puff pastry however; since both are containing gluten (not to mention high amounts of oil…) it was always a big no-no. I came up with the best solution for lazy people (i.e me!) and also taste-wise it ended up to be practically the same, *drumroll*…….. Rice paper!
This makes for the ideal comfort food pastry for me. I am completely addicted!
If you know how to make spring rolls, than you can skip the part of my recipe that instructs how to do that. However, if you are new to rice paper and spring rolls, you will find instructions along the recipe. Make sure that you have a big enough bowl/pan to place them (I use my pie pan)
Ingredients: (for 10 servings)
- 10 Rice papers
- 300 gram Tofu
- 1 cup raw cashews, previously soaked
- 1 tsp basil powder
- ½ tsp dill powder
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp salt
- Sunflower or Canola Oil, enough for dying the Böreks
- Sesame, enough for topping the Böreks
For the filling:
- Dry the tofu as well as you can with a towel, cut it to 3-4 pieces and place it in the food processor. At first it will be crumbly but process it for a few minutes until it reaches a pasty consistency. Once it reaches this consistency, add in the cashews until both ingredients are equally mixed, then add in the basil, dill, salt and lemon juice.
For the Rice papers:
- Take a bowl or a pan and fill it with warm water.
Place a dry, clean towel next to it. Take the first rice paper and place it inside the bowl for approx. 15 seconds until the paper becomes softer. Make sure your hands are in contact with the rice paper at all times to prevent it from folding due to the temperature.
- Once the paper has softened, place it on a clean, dry towel. Pour a heaped tablespoon of the filling onto the paper, close to one of the edges of the paper. With your fingers, try to mold it to be somewhat linear and with equal proportions all across the surface you smeared it upon.
- Fold the margin of the rice paper on the filling and then fold the two lateral margins on each side of the filling.
- Roll the paper until it covers the entire mold. Make sure it is tightened on all sides.
With a brush, die all sides of the Börek with oil and spread sesame seeds over its top part.
Place the Böreks in an oven pan lined by parchment paper and place in an oven pre-heated to 200°C/392°F for 10 minutes. Flip them and wait another 10 minutes. After that flip them again for 3-5 minutes until they turn slightly golden in color.
Eat them while they’re hot.
They are great to eat with a nice fresh salad on the side.
I don’t recommend keeping them and reheating because they lose some of their crispiness when they are re-heated, but if you must, they can hold for a few days in the fridge and much more if needed in the freezer.
Song of the recipe: Soon it’s gonna rain – Kristin Chenoweth and Mandy Patinkin