The other day I made these cheese pastries and Lucy, aged 22 months, actually broke into applause!
I first saw the recipe on my friend Esther’s Instagram feed, and I couldn’t rest until I’d made a batch for myself. They are wickedly delicious and, because they use packaged puff pastry, a snap to whip together.
I used Dufour Classic Puff Pastry dough, purchased at Whole Foods. It’s made with pure butter, astonishingly delicious, and better than any packaged pâte feuilletée I’ve found in France. I found the hardest part of this recipe was cutting the dough into even squares. Make sure everything is well-chilled, and use a piece of trimmed parchment paper as a guide.
You can experiment with the filling, using the cheeses you like, or whatever you have on hand. Esthy’s mixture combines grated mozzarella, parmesan, and American muenster cheese, which is mild, salty, soft and insanely melty (and not to be confused with Alsatian munster, so stinky it sometimes gets its own knife on the cheese board). Combine the cheeses with a beaten egg and top each square of dough with a spoonful of filling. Fold, crimp, brush with beaten egg, sprinkle with sesame seeds and salt flakes, et voilà! After 25 minutes in the oven—during which time the scent of butter will fill your home—you might also burst into applause.
I like to accompany these bourekas with a green salad (to stave off guilt) for a quick and delicious lunch. But if you’re almost two, and you don’t have the molars/palate for lettuce, cherry tomatoes (“may-toes”) are another lovely counterpoint. By the way, leftover cheese pastries make a terrific, celebratory breakfast—just warm them for a few minutes in the oven so that the filling softens and the pastry turns hilariously flaky.
In the family meal trenches, there aren’t a lot of unequivocal hits, but this one is a complete and total WIN.
Adapted from Esther Abramowicz of Cumin, Beet, & Chocolate
Makes 12 small pastries
1 14-oz package puff pastry dough, defrosted overnight in the fridge (look for 100% all-butter pastry)
1/2 cup grated Mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Muenster cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
Sesame seeds and/or fleur de sel for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, add the cheeses and one egg, mix until combined. Season with salt and pepper.
Cut the dough into even squares. I used a piece of parchment paper as a guide to make 12 small squares.
In a small dish, beat the second egg. Divide the cheese mixture between the pastry squares, about one tablespoon per square. Seal each boureka by dipping a finger into the beaten egg, and running it around the edges of the square. Fold the edges to form a triangle and use a fork to crimp the sides. Brush with the remaining beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds and fleur de sel, if desired.
Bake for 25 minutes, or until the pastry is golden, and firm and dry to the touch. Do not under bake.
Note: If I have leftover beaten egg, I make it into a small omelette for a cook’s treat!
Here’s what happens when you make this recipe.