Beef & Fruit Börek, take 2
In this one, I’m using flour without yeast, and the börek looks completely different. Rather than updating my original version which was more bread-like, I put them up side by side. They’re *both* very much worth the trouble.
Instead of the “pizza-mix” flour with yeast, I used strong flour meant for bread baking. This type contains a lot of gluten, and I was able to roll and stretch it until very thin. This worked well enough, and it still didn’t get as sharp and brittle as phillo dough can become.
I used more fruit in this one, and to prevent the filling to get too soggy with all their juice, I used a food processor to chop up the beef a bit smaller, and added an egg. Also, and I’m very pleased with how that turned out, I added an egg to the brush-on layer – making it thinner, and giving the baked top a wonderful, slightly shiny, golden brown finish.
recipe: Beef & Fruit Börek, take 2
This amount is for a 22 cm round börek, for 3 to 4 portions
- 200 gr strong flour (I used flour from the working windmill in Cothen)
- 120 ml water
- 1 tablesp olive oil
- 300 gr braising steak or beef skirt
(Dutch: sukadelappen; stoofvlees)
- 1 tablesp pomegranate syrup (nar ekşisi)
- 4 small onions, chopped
- 100 gr soaked raisins
- 100 gr gooseberries (or other tart berries that stew well)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablesp flour
- 1 egg
- 3 tablesp olive oil
- 1 tablesp Greek yoghurt
- 1 egg
some sesame and black nigella seeds (or black sesame seeds) to scatter over top.
The following is very much like the method for Beef & Blackberry Borek, except for some small details.
Start by getting everything out of the fridge, so it can get to room temperature.
Quickly mix up a dough with the flour, oil and luke-warm water, and knead it only long enough to get it supple and evenly mixed. Form it into a flattened ball. Cover and get on with the next step.
Put the raisins in a small bowl and pour hot water over them. Set aside, or drain and add a small amount of a berry liquor like Coebergh to soak them in.
Cut up the beef in small chunks: larger than minced meat, but smaller or not as long as shoarma. Peel and slice the onions in small chunks. Season, and cook the meat in a bit of olive oil over a medium heat, until well browned; add a lid and stew on low heat for about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and add one tablespoon of pomegranate syrup; its acidity and that of the berries helps to render the stewing meat tender, and I love its tangy-sweet flavour. Stir to cover everything; leave to cool down.
When cooled, use a food processor to chop up the meat and onions into a mincemeat structure. Add drained raisins, berries, 2 tablespoons of flour (or breadcrumbs), and the egg. Pulse once or two times to combine.
Mix up the olive oil, yoghurt and 2nd egg in a separate bowl. This makes a fatty brush-on layer to be used on the dough in the next step.
Now flour your work surface well, and roll out the dough into as thin as you can get it, as large as your worktop can support. If the dough starts to stretch and shrink back, roll it up and cover, rest it for 5 minutes, and then resume rolling it out. The gluten will have developed in that time and allow it to be stretched even further. Stretch it by lifting it off the surface and drape it over your hands or your rolling pin – let gravity help pull it as thin as possible. Go for a crude oval-shape; no need to make a rectangle. On Youtube you can see the real börek gurus twirl it above their heads like some wet bedsheet, but you’ll get good results even without those kitchen acrobatics.
When your dough sheet is large enough, drizzle some of the yoghurt-oil mix over it with a spoon, and brush it out. With your hands, divide the filling shaping it as a long thin sausage along the edge of the dough, leaving a few centimeters clear from the side. Flip that side over the filling, fold under and press down to close the sausage. Do that all along the rim of the dough. Make a cut in the top of the “O” shape and through the still empty center. You now have a very long sausage in a “U” shape. Stretch and fold the remaining dough over the sausage and close off the ends. This way you also get a thinner dough layer in the sausage roll.
Now gently roll up the dough into a cartwheel by putting one end on a piece of baking paper, and circling the rest of the roll around it. Use the baking parchment to lift the roll onto a baking tray (or round pizza tray). Brush its top very liberally with more of the yoghurt-egg-oil mixture. Scatter some sesame seeds and/or black nigella seeds on top.
Bake in a pre-heated oven of 175°C for about 45 minutes; keep an eye on it so that the thin layers do not get too dark. When it’s done, cut some wedges and serve hot.