The secret to making these spicy sausage and feta stuffed pastries is to brush a mixture of water, oil and a little bit of salt over the top before baking. This really is the difference between the amazing börek I had in Turkey and the ones I’d been cooking at home. It’s worth seeking out the yufka pastry, too – while filo is an okay substitute, it just isn’t the same! The smoked eggplant mayo will make more than you need, but trust me, it’s so good it won’t go to waste.
Skill level Easy
250 g sucuk (see Note), cut into 1cm pieces
olive oil, for drizzling
¼ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, torn
100 g Turkish feta, crumbled
250 ml (1 cup) olive oil
125 ml (½ cup) sparkling mineral water
2 tbsp flaked sea salt
2 sheets yufka pastry (see Note)
canola oil, for shallow frying
Smoked eggplant mayonnaise
1 large eggplant
6 egg yolks, at room temperature
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp white wine vinegar or lemon juice
250 ml (1 cup) vegetable oil
250 ml (1 cup) olive oil, plus a little extra for drizzling
sea salt, to taste
2 tsp red pul biber (Aleppo pepper), plus a little extra, to serve
1 lemon, zested
1 tbsp tahini
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Chilling time 30 minutes
To make the smoked eggplant mayonnaise, prick the eggplant all over with a fork, then place over a gas flame and cook, turning frequently, until black and charred all over. Place in a bowl, cover and stand until cool enough to handle. Peel the eggplant and tear into long thin strips, discarding as many seeds as possible – don’t worry if you can’t remove them all. Place the egg yolks, mustard and vinegar in a food processor and combine well. With the motor running, gradually add the combined oils, drop by drop at first, then in a slow steady stream until emulsified. Season to taste, then transfer to a bowl. Stir in the eggplant, pul biber, zest, tahini and a splash of olive oil, then check the seasoning. Sprinkle with a little extra pul biber just before serving.
To make the börek, place a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the sucuk and a drizzle of oil and cook, shaking the pan regularly, for 3-4 minutes or until the sausage is golden and crisp. Add the torn parsley leaves and cook for another 30 seconds or until just wilted, then remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl. Add the crumbled feta and combine well.
Combine the olive oil, water and salt flakes in small bowl.
Brush each sheet of pastry with the olive oil mixture, then fold in half and brush with the mixture again. Cut each folded round of pastry into 4 triangles. Place 1 tablespoon of filling about 2 cm from the bottom of the short side, then roll up the filling tightly, folding in the sides as you go, to create 8 cylinders. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Heat a large frying pan 2 cm full of oil to 170°C or until a cube of bread dropped in the oil browns in 20 seconds. Carefully place the börek in the oil, seam-side down, and cook in batches, turning for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Drain on paper towel, sprinkle with a little sea salt, then serve immediately with the smoked eggplant mayonnaise.
• Sucuk (pron sujuk) is a cured, heavily spiced Turkish beef sausage. Available from Middle Eastern food shops and select butchers.
• Yufka pastry is an unleavened Turkish pastry used in sweet and savoury dishes. It’s rolled into thin round sheets and is available from Middle Eastern delicatessens.