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It’s probably a bit of a stretch to call these borekas because I originally introduced them to my readers as one of our favorite savory Turkish bites. And it’s not every day you think of sweet borekas. Truth be told, I am a savory lover at heart. But this once city girl, who now lives within minutes of farmland‚ÄĒdriving by horses, cows, dairy farms and wild apple trees‚ÄĒcounts her blessings and happily picks blueberries at a nearby farm.
Whether we‚Äôll call them borekas or not, these little pastries are fast, easy and perfectly sweet for the Jewish New Year. And as a perfect finger food for a Yom Kippur break fast, I made blueberry and apple borekas with a sweet tahini honey glaze.
Another usual savory bite, tahini is an ingredient I use for just about everything: dressings, dips and spreads, and naturally don‚Äôt see it used as a sweet ingredient. Tahini is mixed with a bit of honey and warm water and with a bit of elbow grease, turns into a beautiful pour-able consistency.
Wishing you a wonderful and sweet New Year and an easy fast! L’shana Tovah!
Blueberry and Apple Borekas with Honey Tahini
1. First make the filling. In a bowl, add together the cubed apples, blueberries, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and lemon zest and juice. Toss everything together and allow to sit while you prepare the puff pastry.
2.¬†Unfold puff pastry on a floured surface and roll out a bit so the pastry is a bit thinner.
3. Then cut pastry sheet into nine even squares (18 total for both sheets) and add about a tablespoon of filling to each square.
4. Whisk together the egg and water in a small bowl and brush the edges of each square with the egg wash and then folding the dough together making a little pouch. Use your fingers or a fork to crimp the edges and it’s OK if you stretch the dough a bit, the fruit will shrink as it bakes.
5. Brush more egg wash on top of the folded pastry and sprinkle with more sugar. Use a knife to cut little skits on the top.
6. Place borekas on lined baking sheet and bake at 325¬į for 20-25 minutes, or until the filling begins to ooze out and the pastry is golden brown.
7. Once done, remove from the oven and allow to cool a bit while you make tahini glaze.
8. To make the tahini glaze, in a bowl add the tahini and honey and 1/4 cup warm water. Use a fork or whisk to whisk everything together until it is smooth and pour-able. As it sits, it will get firmer so you can add a bit more warm water and mix until desired consistency.
A bagel is naked without a good schmear. The word schmear comes from the Yiddish word “to spread.” In the world of bagels and brunch a schmear has come to mean cream cheese or other, usually cream cheese-based, spreads for bagels.
This¬†quartet of schmears has something for everyone: There’s a¬†vegetarian, smoked salmon, egg & arugula and a¬†sweet schmear. They are perfect to bring to a Shavuot brunch for a crowd or make one or two for a family meal. Dairy plays a central role on Shavuot because the holiday commemorates the revelation of the Torah. The Torah brings with it the rules of Kashrut ¬†(Kosher laws) and since it was given on Shabbat there could be no cattle slaughtered, so it would have been a dairy day. The Torah is also a symbol of nourishment like milk for a baby. Although dairy is the base for all four of these schmears, they are each very different, easy to whip up and full of flavor.
There are four schmears because each schmear is made with 1/2 block of cream cheese. You can also make three schmears and leave 1/2 a block of cream cheese plain for the picky eaters at the table.
Salted Lemon and Smoked Salmon Schmear
2.¬† In a small bowl, put the room temperature cream cheese.
3.¬† Slice the smoked salmon into long, thin strips and then slice them again into little cubes.
4.¬† Add the lemon zest and salt to the cream cheese and mash it together with a fork.
5.¬† Once the zest is thoroughly mixed into the cream cheese, carefully mix in the minced smoked salmon. Serve immediately or chill and serve.
Vegetarian Tomato Schmear
This can be made vegan with vegan mayonnaise and vegan cream cheese.
2.¬† Sprinkle Kosher salt over the minced tomato.
3.¬† In a small bowl, add mayonnaise and with a rasp or smallest side of a box grater, grate garlic into the mayonnaise. You can also use a garlic press. Mix garlic into the mayonnaise.
4.¬† Add the room temperature cream cheese into the garlic mayonnaise. Mash it all together with a fork until it is uniformly mixed.
5.¬† Mince white onion, about the same size as the tomato. Mix the onion into the cream cheese and then carefully stir in the minced tomato and black pepper. Serve immediately or chill and serve.
Eggs and Arugula Schmear
1.¬†Hard boil two eggs. I like to use the J. Kenji Lopez-Alt¬†method.
2.¬† With a cheese grater, grate the 2 hard boiled eggs into a bowl. Add in salt, sour cream and mustard and mix together. With a fork, mash in the cream cheese. Toss in black pepper (freshly ground if possible).
3.¬† Chop about 1 cup of baby arugula, for 3/4 cup of chopped arugula. I like to hold a small bunch of leaves and with kitchen shears, snip the arugula into the egg and cream cheese mixture. Stir together gently until combined. Serve immediately or chill and serve.
Sweet¬†Schmear with Ginger & Blueberries
The¬†last 1/2 block of cream cheese can be left plain or you can play a little with it for something sweet. I chose to add sugar and ginger.
Mash the sugar into the cream cheese with a fork. Grate the ginger into the mixture and serve with a bowl of fresh blueberries.