Kurdish-Style Rolled Pastry with Hazelnuts

Kürt Böreği

Preparation info

  • Serves

    4

    • Difficulty

      Complex

Appears in

Anatolia

By David Dale and Somer Sivrioglu

Published 2015

  • About

The Turkish name for this pastry— kürt böreği —suggests it is a Kurdish speciality, but you should not expect to find it in eastern Anatolia, where the Kurds live. The name seems to have arisen because it’s the kind of dish Istanbul chefs imagine Kurds might eat. To confuse the issue further, I’ve boosted it with hazelnuts and crème pâtissière, which makes it more like the kind of rich pastry they love on the Black Sea.

Ingredients

Rolled Pastry

  • 120 g ( oz/1 cup) hazelnuts
  • 1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour (plus extra for dusting), or 3 sheets frozen puff pastry
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) vegetable oil
  • 125 g ( oz/½ cup) plain yoğurt
  • 150 g ( oz) butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon powder
  • 3 tablespoons icing (confectioners’) sugar

    Method

    Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4).

    Place the hazelnuts on a baking tray and bake for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. When the nuts are cool enough to handle, remove the skin, transfer to a food processor and grind coarsely.

    To make the crème pâtissière, warm the milk in a saucepan over low heat for about 10 minutes until it reaches a low simmer, preferably using a simmer mat. Try to keep the temperature around 70°C (160°F) if you have a food thermometer, being careful not to let the milk start to boil.

    Meanwhile, combine the egg yolks, cornflour, flour and icing sugar in a mixing bowl and whisk until smooth. Ladle about 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) of the warm milk into the yolk mixture, whisk together, and then pour into the saucepan with the remaining milk. Whisk slowly for another 2 minutes, then remove from the heat. Slit the vanilla bean lengthways, scrape the seeds into the mixture and stir through. Discard the skin. Put the bowl in the fridge to cool.

    Sift the flour into a mixing bowl, make a well in the middle, break in the eggs and then add the baking powder, vegetable oil and yoğurt. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, or until the dough is soft and stretchy. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and rest for 1 hour to expand.

    Sprinkle some flour on your work surface. Divide the dough into twenty pieces and roll into balls. With floured hands or a rolling pin, flatten one ball into a round 20 cm (8 in) wide and 2–3 cm (about 1 in) thick. Repeat with the remaining dough.

    Melt the butter in a frying pan over medium heat (or microwave for 30 seconds). Brush each round with the butter and then place the rounds on top of each other to make a stack. Press the stack down and spread the dough out with a rolling pin, as thin as possible. Brush with butter and roll into a log. Slice into three equal pieces, wrap each piece in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour to rest.

    Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4).

    Remove the chilled dough from the fridge (or freezer if using store-bought puff pastry) and leave to warm to room temperature. Grease a 30 × 20 × 4 cm (12 × 8 × 1½ in) baking tray with butter. Roll out the first piece of puff pastry to the size of the tray. Remove the crème pâtissière from the fridge and spread onto the pastry, then sprinkle one-third of the hazelnuts over the top.

    Roll out the second and third pieces of puff pastry to the size of your tray, and brush the top with butter. Place the second puff pastry layer on top of the first, sprinkle with another third of hazelnuts, and then place the final pastry layer on top.

    Cut the stacked dough into 8 cm ( in) squares. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden on top. Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly.

    Sprinkle the remaining hazelnuts on top of the börek, dust with cinnamon and icing sugar, then serve warm.