In Israel these pastries are called “snails” or “Turkish bourekas.” They’re also called boyoz (due to a mix-up that originated in the island of Rhodes), while in Turkey they are kol borgi. Whatever you decide to call them, this pastry, strongly associated with Turkish Jews, is considered a sign of hospitality and a proof of culinary skill. It is made of paper-thin dough, rolled around a filling and then twisted into a spiral. Some fill it with cheese, others with eggplants, but the most popular and beloved version is with spinach, like in this delicious recipe. It calls for home-made dough, but don’t worry — it’s simple to work with, stretches easily, and creates a crunchy thin crust.
2 cups (½ liter) olive oil, for submerging the dough
For the dough:
3½ cups (500 grams) all-purpose flour
1⅓ tablespoons apple cider vinegar
⅔ tablespoon Arak
1½ teaspoons salt
1½ tablespoons olive oil
About 1¼ cups (300 ml) water
For the filling:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
800 grams (28 oz) flat-leaf spinach, washed and coarsely chopped (or blanched chicory, or sorrel and mallow mix)
Salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoons ground Persian lime
½ teaspoon Ras el-Hanout spice mix
Turkish ayran (yogurt drink)
- Prepare the dough: Place all the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook and mix on medium speed for 5 minutes, to a smooth elastic dough. Cover and let rest for 20 minutes.
- Using a scraper, divide the dough into 10 equal balls. Dip each ball in the olive oil for 1 minute and transfer to a clean bowl. Pour the oil over the balls to cover and let rest overnight in a cool place outside the refrigerator.
- Prepare the filling: Heat olive oil in a wide skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and caramelize slowly and gently for about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the spices, mix well and fry for 30 seconds.
- Add the chopped spinach and sauté until the leaves wilt. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your taste. Transfer to a strainer and cool to room temperature.
- Preheat the oven to 180C/400F and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Lightly grease the work surface with the oil covering the dough balls.
- Place a dough ball on the work surface and using your fingers stretch gently, working from the center outwards, into a thin 20x30cm/ 8-12-in rectangle. Do not worry if there are a few holes in the dough.
- Divide the filling mixture into 10 equal parts. Place one-tenth of the filling on the dough and spread in an even layer. Roll the dough lengthwise into a log, then form into a spiral. Transfer to the baking tray and repeat with the remaining dough balls and filling.
- Gently brush the spirals with a little oil and bake until golden, 20-25 minutes. Serve with a hard-boiled egg and a glass of Turkish Ayran.