This is the first of three recipes for böreks, the pastries that got their name from a Turkish verb meaning ‘to twist’. You can tie yourself in knots trying to fold the pastry as neatly as a Turkish cook. We suggest you just relax and try to make shapes that vaguely resemble cigars (this recipe) or spirals (the next recipe) or square parcels (the third recipe).
The word börek is very old—there’s a reference to a sugar burek in a twelfth-century book called Danişmendname, about the conquest of Anatolia by the Turks, which presumably means we can call böreks ’the breakfast of conquerors’.
The cigar börek is the simplest form, and can be made with commercial yufka (or two layers of filo) instead of rolling out your own pastry. From one sheet of yufka you can make eight to twelve cigars, which you could freeze and then deep fry (without defrosting) when you need them.
Normally sigara böreği are stuffed with just feta and parsley, but I find mint a refreshing addition.