Time for comfort food: Potato bourekas
FoodUse store-bought pastry to save time

Time for comfort food: Potato bourekas

The flaky pastry and creamy potato filling are perfect for Shabbat and parties.

Israeli potato bourekas (Photo by Jessica Grann)
Israeli potato bourekas (Photo by Jessica Grann)

It felt like a good time to bring comfort to my people with food — and I’ve yet to meet a person who can refuse Israeli potato bourekas.

The flaky pastry and creamy potato filling are perfect for Shabbat and parties. And this recipe is pretty simple. I use store-bought puff pastry to save time.

You can use these instructions to make any kind of boureka by changing the filling. Once you have the basics down, you can get really creative with the flavors. Eggplant and cheese are amazing choices.

This recipe makes 24 pieces. It only takes a few extra minutes to whip up 24 as opposed to 12, so it will save time in the long run to make a bigger batch. I often bake 12 and freeze 12 unbaked bourekas to pull out on a busy day.

Israeli potato bourekas

2 packages (about 2 pounds) of puff pastry
2 pounds of Yukon Gold potatoes
1 medium onion, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon Osem chicken consommé
1 teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon black pepper
2 large eggs, divided
Sesame seeds to garnish, optional

Place the puff pastry on the counter to thaw, which takes about an hour. The pastry should be cool to the touch but not warm; it can be difficult to work with if it gets too warm.

Peel and dice the potatoes into small cubes.

Put the potatoes in a large saucepan covered with two inches of water and put them on the stove to boil, which takes 20-25 minutes. Check them with a fork — if the fork goes through the potato chunk easily, drain the potatoes in a colander or mesh strainer.

While the potatoes are cooking, dice a medium onion and sauté it in 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. You don’t need to fully caramelize the diced onions; just sauté them until they are soft and translucent (you may have some dark brown pieces mixed in), about 10-15 minutes.

When the potatoes are cooked and drained, put them back into the cooking pot and add the Osem consommé, salt, pepper and onions.

Mash with a potato masher and check the flavor. The pastry has little flavor on its own, so it’s important that the filling is flavorful and on the salty side. Be careful when adding extra salt, though, because the Osem consommé is salty.

Set the potato mixture aside to cool. Stir it every few minutes to help the steam release more quickly.

Once you turn the potatoes over and don’t see any steam rise from the pot, mix in one of the eggs.

Whisk the second egg in a separate bowl and reserve it to use an egg wash on the bourekas.

Preheat the oven to 375 F and place the rack in the upper third position.

Line a baking pan with parchment paper.

Lay the puff pastry onto a cutting board. Use a pizza cutter to cut the pastry into evenly sized squares. The brand of pastry that I use comes rectangular and allows for 12, 5-inch squares per sheet.

Scoop about 2 tablespoons of the potato filling into the center of each square. I use a cookie scoop so that each square gets the same amount of filling.

Fold the square from one corner to the other, creating a triangle. Seal the edges with your fingers or with a fork and place onto the parchment-lined baking sheet.

Once the baking sheet is full of bourekas, spaced about two inches apart, brush them with the remaining beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired.

Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown.

To freeze a portion of the batch, place them onto a parchment-lined baking sheet after forming, but do not brush them with egg.

Slide the baking sheet into the freezer and freeze it flat for an hour.

After the bourekas are frozen, take them from the baking sheet and pop them in a zipper storage bag. The bourekas can be stored in the freezer for up to three months.

To bake, thaw them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Once they are fully thawed, wash them with egg and bake according to the original instructions.

Enjoy and bless your hands! PJC

Jessica Grann is a home chef living in Pittsburgh.

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