I’ve already posted a spinach borek recipe here, long ago. But this one below is a bit different. The filling is made with spinach but with cooked spinach rather than fresh as in the previous recipe. No cheese is used in the filling here. Also, the pie layers are moistened with yogurt mixture instead of milk, which makes the pie super soft (I love it!). And I get tons of requests for the recipe whenever I bake this borek and share it. Now I feel like I have to share this recipe with all of you. Because sharing is caring. I care about you and you eating delicious foods. This borek is a winner! Worth making, again and again.
Read about yufka HERE. And browse my list of ethnic markets across the US that may carry yufka in their freezer section. You can also check online stores, such as HERE. Every time I visit our local Turkish market, I buy at least 5 packages of yufka and keep them in my freezer. When the borek craving hits, I take one package out, let it defrost at room temperature and get down to baking. Enjoy, friends!
Here’s how yufka sheets look.
Only three yufkas are used in this pie. The layers are moistened with yogurt soak and one is spread with spinach filling.
The top is sprinkled with either Nigella sativa seeds or sesame seeds (sesame seeds pictured here). And off goes the pie in the oven!
Ready! Look at this golden delicious top!
Soft Spinach Pie (Ispanakli Borek)
Makes about 15 pieces
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped (not too finely)
About 3/4 pound (350 g) fresh young spinach leaves, thoroughly washed and drained, then coarsely chopped
Salt and ground black pepper
2 cups plain yogurt
3/4 cup olive oil
1 egg + 1 egg white (the yolk will go on top)
3 large yufka sheets (1 package usually contains 3-5 yufka sheets)
1 egg yolk mixed with reserved yogurt soak (see recipe), for glazing
Nigella sativa seeds or sesame seeds, for sprinkling
Prepare the filling: Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to change color, about 10 minutes. Add the spinach leaves and cook, stirring from time to time, until all the moisture evaporates and oil remains and the spinach wilts dramatically, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Prepare the yogurt soak: In a medium mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients for the soak. Whisk gently to blend. Set aside.
Prepare the oven: Preheat the oven to 380°F (190°C).
Assemble the pie: Lightly grease a 13-by-9-by-2-inch (33-by-23-by-5-cm) baking dish (I used a Pyrex dish). Layer the first yufka in the pan so that the sides are overhanging (best is one side is overhanging more than the other, so that it covers the top completely later). Evenly drizzle 5-6 tablespoons of the yogurt mixture on top of this layer and spread. Cut a piece (large enough to fit the pan) from the second yufka and reserve it. Ruffle the remaining part of this yufka and spread atop of the yogurt soak. Drizzle a few tablespoons of the yogurt soak on top and spread. Spread the filling evenly over this layer. Cover the filling with the reserved small piece of yufka so that it covers the filling completely. Drizzle some of the yogurt soak on top. “Ruffle” the last yufka and place on top. Moisten with most of the remaining soak, reserving a few tablespoons for the glaze. Bring the overhanging yufka to the top and cover the top completely.
Glaze the pie: Combine the egg yolk with the remaining yogurt soak and stir to mix. Brush the top of the borek with this mixture. Sprinkle sesame seeds or Nigella sativa seeds on top.
Bake the pie: Bake on the middle rack of the oven until golden on top, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool about 15 minutes. Cut into 15 square pieces. Arrange on a serving platter and serve. This borek is best when served slightly warm, but it is also good once completely cooled. Enjoy!