Every couple of months I get an email from Janis Donnaud asking if I’d chat with one of her potential clients and give a bit of advice or direction.

Janis is my literary agent, she’s one of the very best out there, also repping the Neeley’s, Paula Deen, as well as friends Melissa Clark and Sara Kate from The Kitchn. I recently intro’d dynamic duo Stephanie Stiavetti (hey check out her shiny new blog design!) and Garrett of Vanilla Garlic to Janis — who sold their upcoming book proposal what seemed like just a few days!

(Read Garrett’s interview with Janis on Epicurious)

Earlier this year, Janis asked if I’d have some time at the BlogHer conference in San Diego to meet Tori Avey, The Shiksa in the Kitchen.

First, I had to look up what shiksa meant — then, “oh heck yeah!” when I found out she was a culinary anthropologist and a convert to Judaism through her marriage.

Tori and I met over wine and talked non-stop about food blogging, cooking, photography and book writing. She’s gorgeous. Inside and out.

I can’t wait for the world to discover her! I’ve asked her to come on by and introduce herself and a recipe for super-simple Apple Boureka using pre-made filo dough. Enjoy! ~Jaden

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I am so thrilled to be guest posting for Jaden here at Steamy Kitchen! I met Jaden at the BlogHer conference in San Diego this past summer and we became fast friends. Jaden and her website are an inspiration to many of us in the food blogging community. It’s a treat to be able to share one of my recipes with you!

I realize some of you may not be familiar with my website, so here’s a little background for you. My blog The Shiksa in the Kitchen explores the history of Jewish cuisine as well as other historical culinary topics. I am fascinated by the story behind the food– why we eat what we eat, how cultural foods have evolved, and how yesterday’s food can inspire us in the kitchen today.

I’d like to introduce you to the boureka—a delicious Middle Eastern hand pie. These baked, stuffed pastries are popular in Israel and throughout the Middle East. They originated in Asia as a deep-fried filled dumpling known as a burga. When the Turks of central Asia moved to what is now the country of Turkey, they brought their stuffed burga dumplings with them. Over time, the dumpling evolved into a variety of stuffed, layered pastries known as börek. Sephardic Jews who settled in Turkey adopted the pastry, merging it with their version of the same dish (empanada) and adapting it to make it kosher. Börek + empanada = boureka. The boureka was born!

Today bourekas are usually made savory, with fillings like meat or cheese. Recently, I wondered what it might be like to stuff them with sweet pie-like fillings. The experiment paid off; I ended up with Apple Cinnamon Bourekas, a delicate, flaky dessert just perfect for winter. With the holidays approaching, these sweet little baked bourekas are a seasonal treat. They’d make a great addition to a holiday buffet. Now that you know the history behind the dish, perhaps you’ll enjoy them even more!

How to make Apple Cinnamon Bourekas

2 hours before you begin, take your filo dough out of the freezer and let it defrost. You can also let it defrost overnight in the refrigerator, if you prefer.

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Cut the cored, peeled apples into very thin slices.

Place the slices in a mixing bowl along with the brown sugar, vanilla, ½ tsp of cinnamon, and salt. Toss all ingredients with a spoon till the apple slices are evenly coated. Let them macerate for a few minutes so the apples become juicy and the sugar begins to dissolve.

Lightly dampen a kitchen towel (don’t soak it!), and keep it with you as you work with the filo dough. Unroll your dough. Filo sheets come in different sizes, so you may need to cut your sheets to size get the size you need. For each boureka, you want to create a double layer of filo dough that is about 4 inches wide and 14 inches long.

Folding a smaller filo sheet (8×14) in half lengthwise is the easiest way to form this double layer.

If your filo sheets are larger, use scissors to cut the sheet in half lengthwise to make two rectangular pieces.

Then, fold each piece in half lengthwise to create the double layer of filo you need.

Keep the unused filo sheets under the damp towel as you work to keep them from drying out. Filo is very delicate and prone to ripping, so if you’ve never worked with it before, be patient… rips will happen. It takes some time to get a feel for it.

Use a pastry brush to pain a thin layer of melted butter onto the surface of the double layer filo rectangle.

Place a few slices of the apple filling in the lower left corner of the filo rectangle, following the left edge of the filo and fanning downward in a triangular shape.

Fold the lower left corner of the rectangle up and over the apple filling to form a triangle of dough.

Take the upper left and corner and fold it up and over, maintaining the triangular shape.

Continue folding the filo in the same way you would fold a flag, till the entire strip is used up and a neat triangle pastry is formed.

Place the folded boureka on an ungreased baking sheet.

Repeat process until all the filling is used up. You should end up with around 14-15 bourekas. You may need two baking sheets to fit all of the bourekas.

Brush each boureka with another thin layer of melted butter. Don’t brush it on too heavy, or the bourekas will become very greasy. Just a light layer will do it.

In a small bowl, mix together 2 tbsp of sugar and ½ tsp of cinnamon. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the top of the buttered bourekas.

Place the bourekas on the middle rack of your preheated oven. Let them bake for 20-25 minutes till filo turns golden brown and the filling begins to bubble out in places. Serve warm.

Yum

Apple Cinnamon Bourekas

Servings: Makes 14-15 bourekas

Prep Time: 2 hours 15 minutes

Cook Time: 7 minutes

Try serving these Apple Cinnamon Bourekas, from Tori Avey, fresh from the oven with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The light, crispy filo shell and tender, piping hot apple filling pair perfectly with ice cream. They’ll keep at room temperature for 2-3 days; before serving, reheat them in the oven at 325 degrees for 5-7 minutes till warmed through.

Kosher Key: Dairy

Ingredients:

1 lb. baking apples (Golden Delicious, Gravenstein or Fuji), cored and peeled
¼ cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon, divided
1/8 tsp salt
1 package filo dough
½ cup unsalted butter, melted
2 tbsp sugar

Directions:

1) 2 hours before you begin, take your filo dough out of the freezer and let it defrost. You can also let it defrost overnight in the refrigerator, if you prefer.
2) Preheat your oven to 325F. Cut the cored, peeled apples into very thin slices.
3) Place the slices in a mixing bowl along with the brown sugar, vanilla, ½ tsp of cinnamon, and salt. Toss all ingredients with a spoon till the apple slices are evenly coated. Let them macerate for a few minutes so the apples become juicy and the sugar begins to dissolve.
4) Lightly dampen a kitchen towel (don’t soak it!), and keep it with you as you work with the filo dough. Unroll your dough. Filo sheets come in different sizes, so you may need to cut your sheets to size get the size you need. For each boureka, you want to create a double layer of filo dough that is about 4 inches wide and 14 inches long.
5) Folding a smaller filo sheet (8x14) in half lengthwise is the easiest way to form this double layer.
If your filo sheets are larger, use scissors to cut the sheet in half lengthwise to make two rectangular pieces.
6) Then, fold each piece in half lengthwise to create the double layer of filo you need.
7) Keep the unused filo sheets under the damp towel as you work to keep them from drying out. Filo is very delicate and prone to ripping, so if you’ve never worked with it before, be patient… rips will happen. It takes some time to get a feel for it.
8) Use a pastry brush to pain a thin layer of melted butter onto the surface of the double layer filo rectangle.
9) Place a few slices of the apple filling in the lower left corner of the filo rectangle, following the left edge of the filo and fanning downward in a triangular shape.
10) Fold the lower left corner of the rectangle up and over the apple filling to form a triangle of dough.
11) Take the upper left and corner and fold it up and over, maintaining the triangular shape.
12) Continue folding the filo in the same way you would fold a flag, till the entire strip is used up and a neat triangle pastry is formed.
13) Place the folded boureka on an ungreased baking sheet.
14) Repeat process until all the filling is used up. You should end up with around 14-15 bourekas. You may need two baking sheets to fit all of the bourekas.
15) Brush each boureka with another thin layer of melted butter. Don’t brush it on too heavy, or the bourekas will become very greasy. Just a light layer will do it.
16) In a small bowl, mix together 2 tbsp of sugar and ½ tsp of cinnamon. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the top of the buttered bourekas.
17) Place the bourekas on the middle rack of your preheated oven. Let them bake for 20-25 minutes till filo turns golden brown and the filling begins to bubble out in places. Serve warm.