Eggplant and Squash Pastries, Izmir Style

Handrajos

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Makes about

    30

    pastries

Appears in

These Turkish pastries from Sefarad Yemekleri are also known as borekas, although the dough is slightly richer and more tender due to the addition of yogurt than the usual dough for borekas. The same filling could also be used in a tapada or in filo pastries. Handrajos were typically served at a festive desayuno (breakfast).

Ingredients

For the Filling

  • 1 large zucchini
  • salt
  • 1 globe eggplant, about 1 pound
  • 3 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large, ripe tomato, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup grated kashkaval or gruyere cheese or a mixture of kashkaval and feta cheese
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • fine dried bread crumbs or matzoh meal, if needed

For the Pastry

  • cups all-purpose flour, or as needed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup sunflower or vegetable oil
  • ½ cup margarine, melted
  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • sesame seeds or extra grated cheese (optional)

Method

To make the filling, trim the ends of the zucchini and grate on the large holes of a cheese grater. You should have about cups. Place in a colander, sprinkling the layers with salt. Let drain for about 20 minutes. Peel the eggplant, quarter lengthwise, and grate on the large holes of the cheese grater. You should have about 3 cups. Place in a colander, sprinkling the layers with salt, and let drain for about 20 minutes.

Warm the oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 10 minutes. Rinse the zucchini and eggplant, squeeze dry, and add them to the sauté pan. Continue to sauté, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the cheese and season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and let cool. If the mixture seems too wet, add the bread crumbs or mat-zoh meal until the ingredients bind together nicely.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

To make the pastry, stir together the flour and salt in a bowl. Gradually add the oil, margarine, and yogurt, stirring and tossing with a fork until the dough comes together. Alternatively, combine the flour and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine, then add the oil, margarine, and yogurt and process until a dough forms. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead briefly until it is cohesive.

On the floured surface, roll out the dough about ¼ inch thick. Cut out rounds 3 to 4 inches in diameter. Place a scant tablespoon of filling on the center of each round, brush the edge of the round with a little of the beaten egg or some water, fold in half, and seal securely. Place the pastries on the parchment-lined sheets. Brush the pastries with the beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds or grated cheese, if using.

Bake until golden, about 30 minutes. Serve hot or warm.