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Bourekas

Miniature bourekas are served as cocktail snacks. The dimensions here are for the larger, heartier versions. Phyllo pastry can be bought in supermarkets as well as in Greek and Middle Eastern delis. The sheets of dough come in 1-pound packages. If you use only a few leaves, wrap the remainder well; phyllo dough will keep indefinitely in the freezer.

These quantities assume you are going to make both fillings at one session. If you only make one of the fillings, halve the quantity of dough.

Cheese Filling: Dairy
Spinach Filling: Pareve

ingredients

makes about 72 large pastries
1 pound phylo dough, thawed if frozen
about 1 cup butter or margarine (depending on whether filling is milk or pareve), melted
1 cup sesame seeds

cheese filling

2 cups crumbled feta cheese
2 eggs, lightly beaten
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

spinach filling

2 cups (1 pound) fresh spinach, or 8 ounces frozen leaf spinach, thawed
1 tablespoon margarine
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons oil
1/3 cup slivered almonds
1 egg, lightly beaten
salt and black pepper

method

1. First prepare the fillings. Leave the dough in its package until you are just about to use it. It dries out very quickly when exposed to the air, so as you work with it, keep any unused portions covered with a damp kitchen towel.

2. To make the cheese filling, crumble the feta with a fork. Add the rest of the ingredients and work the mixture into a paste. Cover and reserve.

3. To make the spinach filling, trim the spinach stems, then wash and chop the spinach finely. Put it in a saucepan with the margarine, lemon juice, and nutmeg. Cover and cook on low heat until the spinach is wilted—5 minutes for fresh spinach, 2 minutes for defrosted.

4. Heat the oil in a small skillet and saute the almonds until lightly browned; drain on absorbent paper. Combine almonds with the spinach, then bind with the beaten egg. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

5. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

6. Lightly grease a large cookie sheet. Lay a sheet of phyllo dough on another cookie sheet. Brush it with some melted butter for the cheese filling, margarine for the spinach filling. Use a sharp knife to slice the sheet lengthwise into 4 equal-sized strips.

7. Place 1 teaspoon of the filling about 1 inch from the top left-hand corner of each strip. Fold the corner of dough over the filling, making a triangle, then continue to fold the triangle down over the strip of dough until the whole is a triangular package. Sprinkle with a few sesame seeds and set aside onto prepared cookie sheet. Repeat the procedure until all the dough and fillings are used up.

8. Bake the pastries for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve as quickly as possible.

NOTE
You can make smaller bourekas by cutting each sheet of dough into 6, instead of 4, strips. The smaller the bourekas, the less baking time they will need. Serve larger bourekas with hard-cooked eggs, smaller ones with cocktails.

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