During lockdown, Spasia Dinkovski started making böreks and selling them on Instagram. Soon, her side hustle grew into a full-time biz called Mystic Börek, inspired by her grandmother’s cooking in Macedonia. I loved the drama of a huge börek in a pizza-style box. This chocolatey Easter börek is my homage to Spasia’s, which brought a little light to my lockdown. I use ghee in this recipe, because, as cook and food writer Melek Erdal points out, it is best for filo because it doesn’t burn in the oven.
Chocolate and ricotta börek
Prep 15 mins
cooking 1 hr 20 mins
130g cream cheese
¼ tsp orange blossom water
A pinch of flaky salt
1 x 270g pack filo pasty (7 sheets)
150g gheemelted over a gentle heat
100g milk chocolatechopped
For the syrup
50g caster sugar
The juice of ½ orange
10g dark chocolatemelted
10g crushed pistachios
Heat the oven to 200C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6. In a bowl, gently beat the cream cheese with the egg and sugar until smooth. Mix in the orange blossom water and salt, then stir in the ricotta. The filling should be loose, but not too runny – you will be spreading it over the filo.
To assemble, lay out four sheets of filo lengthways on a work surface, overlapping the ends to make one continuous sheet. Brush liberally with the melted ghee, lay the remaining three sheets of filo over the first three on the bench, again overlapping them slightly and leaving the final sheet on the bench in a single layer (this will make it easier to wrap the end under the hairspring). Liberally brush with ghee.
Spoon the ricotta mixture over the middle third of the filo, leaving space at the bottom and top so it’s easier to roll it up. Sprinkle the chopped chocolate over the ricotta.
From the bottom, roll the filo up tightly into a sausage shape. Then, starting at the end with two layers of filo, turn the pastry into a spiral shape, gently guiding it from one end of the work surface to the other. Don’t worry if tiny splits form. Once you’ve reached the end, gently tuck the pastry tail under the spiral and lift it into a cast-iron pan or a closed bottom cake tin. Make sure there are no gaps in the tin, otherwise the ghee will spill in the oven.
Brush the börek liberally (but don’t drown it) with ghee and bake for 50 minutes to an hour, until golden all over.
Meanwhile, make the syrup, put the sugar, orange juice and 60ml water in a small pan, bring to a boil and cook rapidly for two to three minutes. Leave to cool a little, then pour over the börek while it’s still warm. Drizzle with melted chocolate, sprinkle over the pistachios and serve warm on its own or with ice-cream.