Bourekas were one of the foods I fell in love with hard while in Israel for the first time. I am a sucker for pastry filled with, well, basically anything — samosas, empanadas, calzones, you name it. So warm, flaky dough filled with cheese, potatoes, or mushrooms was like a savory dream come true. And as my colleague Rachel Myerson points out, even when Israeli bourekas are bad, they are actually still good.
When in Israel, we buy them in bulk at the corner makolet (convenience store), and snack on them all day. Of course, they make the perfect breakfast alongside some Israeli-style chopped salad and labneh.
While flavors like spinach and cheese are more classic, pizza bourekas are a new, more Americanized version of the traditional Turkish-inspired bourekas. As a half-Italian, half-Jewish, self-proclaimed pizza bagel myself, I cannot think of a more perfect flavor for bourekas then pizza.
My recipe for pizza bourekas is very Israeli-meets-Italian-American: I use a combination of shredded Edam and mozzarella cheeses, a schmear of tomato sauce, and sliced Israeli green olives, like you would find in Israel. But you can use any shredded cheese you prefer: mozzarella, cheddar, Monterey Jack, or even that pre-shredded bag of Italian mixed cheeses hanging in the supermarket. I like to add a little Italian seasoning and a pinch of thick sea salt after I have egg washed them, but this is completely optional.
These are so easy, they come together in just 30 minutes — perfect for a nosh, finger food for a party, or even an easy weeknight dinner. They are crowd-pleasing and 100% kid-friendly.
- 2 sheets puff pastry, thawed
- 1/4 cup tomato sauce
- 4 oz Edam cheese, shredded
- 4 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1/2 cup sliced green olives
- 1-2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
- 1 egg, beaten
- Italian seasoning
- Roll out each sheet of puff pastry onto a lightly floured work surface. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Spread with even layer of tomato sauce — around 2-3 Tbsp per sheet. Leave thin border all around.
- Sprinkle with an even layer of shredded cheese and olives. Sprinkle grated Parmesan on top if you want.
- Roll up on the longer side. Trim off edges.
- Slice each roll into 8 even pieces.
- Place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush with egg wash and top with sprinkle of Italian seasoning if desired.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the pastry is golden and the cheese is oozing. Best served a little warm.