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Recipe Development: Bourekitas
Overview

These Greek style bourekitas (and the larger bourekas) are very common in Israel. Zoe serves it with a tomato 'resek' (resek meaning crushed in hebrew) and a Middle Eastern version of tzatziki. Have a watch as she takes you through her thought process behind the dish combining different cheeses and herbs along with fresh condiments.

Development Stages

Key Components:

The dough - the handmade pastry is a distinctive part of bourekitas. Zoe separates the dry ingredients from the wet ingredients and mixes them separately to evenly disperse the ingredients. Once she moves the dry ingredients into the wet, she works quickly with the dough since it's quite a wet dough to work with and can become more difficult to work with as it gets warm. There's not much flexibility with this pastry as it is more of an exact science than the rest of the dish.

Fillings - for the fillings for the bourekitas, Zoe uses one soft, one hard and one mild cheese which is why she decided on cottage cheese, dried mozzarella and feta cheese. Traditionally these pastries are meat free as in Jewish law you can't serve meat alongside dairy.

Condiments - for the tzatziki, the traditional Greek version uses cucumber, Zoe decides to take things down a more Middle Eastern route omitting the cucumber and using lots of green herbs and sumac. She uses a mix of dried and fresh mint. Why? Dried mint is more potent and has a more concentrated minty flavour but then the fresh mint ensures you will get those grassy, vegetal flavours. The resek is all about simple good quality ingredients using fresh, fully ripened tomatoes with a real "fruity" taste, as well as olive oil with a balance of fruitiness and bitterness.

Teachings:

  1. Pastry Making - Discover this small pastry that is eaten in the markets of Tel Aviv, learn to work with a wet dough and how to shape them.
  2. Balancing Flavour - Learn how to balance different cheeses for your filling and how to complement herbs and spices.
  3. Israeli Condiments- Learn how to make the versatile resek that brings a freshness and lightness to many different meals and a Middle Eastern tzatziki.

Make It Your Own:

  1. Fillings - you can try a range of different cheeses, such as cheddar, sour cream, kashkaval cheese or combine with the likes of spinach, potato, mushrooms or aubergine. You can also swap out the pine nuts for other nuts like pistachios or peanuts.
  2. Shaping - this version of the pastries are shaped into half moon shapes but you can try squares which are then folded over to create filled triangles.
  3. Toppings - Zoe tops her pastries with sesame and nigella seeds, but you can try poppy seeds or different spice blends like za'atar.
  4. Serving - for the condiments you can add cucumber to your tzatziki or play around with the resek by adding sundried tomatoes or infused oils. They would also be great   enjoyed alongside some schug chilli sauce or creamy tahini.
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Zoe Tigner-Haus
My father is a big eater and as a child we used to have massive lunches at home. It was from him that I learnt a lot about seasoning.