Silverbeet, sometimes mistakenly called spinach in greengrocers (and true spinach can be mislabelled English spinach), is also called swiss chard to further confuse the issue. One thing for certain, however, is that it should be used in this recipe rather than spinach, for its stronger flavour, hardier texture and because its leaves contain far less water than spinach so the pastry is more likely to stay crisp.
There are as many versions of borek in the Middle East as there are countries. One thing they all have in common is delicious flaky pastry often sprinkled with seeds.
Flaky filo pastry encasing a delicious mixture – in this case cheese and silverbeet – topped with crunchy seeds is why borek is so popular in multiple Mediterranean regions. We also have a beef, haloumi and spinach borek if you prefer. This Mediterranean pie is best served fresh and warm from the oven, with a fresh salad on the side.
1.Preheat oven to 170°C/325°F. Oil and line a 22cm x 32cm x 6cm ovenproof dish with baking paper, extending the paper 2cm over sides.
2.Trim 4cm from silverbeet stems; separate leaves and stems. Finely shred leaves; finely chop stems. You will need 4 cups shredded leaves and 1½ cups finely chopped stems.
3.Heat a lightly oiled large frying pan over high heat; cook silver beet leaves and stems for 2 minutes or until wilted and tender. When cool enough to handle, squeeze liquid from silver beet; set aside to cool.
4.Whisk 4 of the eggs in a large bowl until combined. Add ricotta, fetta, sour cream, soda water and silverbeet, stir to combine; season.
5.Layer five sheets of pastry, spraying each sheet with oil; place on base of dish, trimming to fit. Keep remaining sheets covered with baking paper topped with a clean, damp tea towel to prevent them from drying out. Pour 1 cup of cheese mixture onto pastry.
6.Layer two sheets of pastry, spraying each sheet with oil; place on cheese mixture. Pour 1 cup of cheese mixture on pastry. Repeat layering with two more layers of pastry and remaining cheese mixture. Layer five sheets of pastry, spraying each sheet with oil; place on cheese mixture.
7.Whisk remaining egg lightly; brush over top of pie. Sprinkle pie with combined seeds; bake for 40 minutes or until golden and cooked through.
8.Serve pie with yoghurt and lemon wedges.
Use cottage cheese instead of ricotta, if you prefer.