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December 26, 2018

Burekas? Maybe now they’re just Tomato & Eggplant Pastries.

So. I’ve been absent a bit, but I promise I will write about all of that soon enough.

But before I forget, I adapted a recipe that was SO good – I needed to document it for all posterity. This was adapted from a burekas recipe from the NYT, mostly to make it easier (using puff pastry instead of making my own dough – rolling it out would be hard right now) and then I made the swap of cheeses based on what sounded good at the moment. (So I don’t know if these can be called burekas anymore)

But it was delicious, vegetarian (my mom’s a pescatarian) and of course – really easy to eat.

I have no pictures. We ate them that quickly. I had a little filling left over – so I’m going to take the filling, mix it with some pasta and bake it.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium eggplant (about 1 pound)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced (between 1/2 – 3/4 cup)
  •  Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • ½ cup strained diced tomatoes
  • 2 oz goat’s milk chevre, room temperature
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 large egg + 1 tsp cold water, beaten

This is a fairly time intensive recipe. Lots of steps, then waiting for things to cool. You could prepare the filling the night before you want to make these and then just let it come to room temperature before working with them.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Pierce the eggplant several times with a sharp knife – I won’t tell anyone if you make the violin hits from Psycho as you do so. Roast the eggplant until it’s collapsed and very soft – which takes about 35 to 40 minutes. Set it aside and when it’s cool enough to handle (that’s about another 15 minutes), you can remove the skin. Put the eggplant flesh in a strainer over a bowl and drain. (I let it sit for a half hour, while I was doing other things)

In a medium sized frying pan (about 10″) over medium heat, heat up the olive oil. Add the onions and cook until they soften – which shouldn’t take more than a few minutes. Season with a good pinch of salt, then stir in the tomatoes and eggplant and break up the eggplant with your spoon. Cook until it starts to thicken a little and lose some of the moisture (there will be a lot of juice from the tomatoes – cook until you can’t see it in the bottom of the pan, but before the filling looks dry). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Turn off the heat and let it cool.

When it’s cooled, mix in the goat cheese, egg and flour. (If it’s still too hot, you’ll start scrambling the egg, and we don’t want that. The egg is there to act as a binder)

Then, pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Take out your puff pastry dough and on a lightly floured surface, roll it out until it’s about 1/8″ thick. Cut the pastry into 3″ squares, put on a separate sheet of parchment paper.

Why this second sheet of paper? If it’s warm in your kitchen, the butter in the puff pastry will make it really hard to work with. So, if the dough gets too soft and starts sticking – put it in the freezer for about 7-10 minutes, then start working again.

Take a square, and put in 1 tbsp of the filling, fold the dough over, and using a fork – crimp the edges. Put it on the baking sheet and repeat until done.

Brush the tops with your egg wash. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until you can really smell the pastry and it’s golden brown. Let cool for about 10 minutes before you try to eat.

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