Ahh, yes. We have discovered the joy of puff pastry. Or, to give it its Turkish name, we have discovered the joy of experimenting with milföy böreği. We’re Brits. We know puff pastry well, of course. Pasties and sausage rolls were a staple, growing up. But we had never cooked with it before. Until recently, that is, and now we’re like kids with a new toy, playing about with different shapes and fillings. And everyone’s favourite so far? Our spinach and potato puff pastry rolls recipe.
How To Make Spinach And Potato Puff Pastry Rolls
Börek (pastry) plays a big part in the world of Turkish cuisine. The most popular, perhaps, are those dishes made with yufka. That’s the thin phyllo-type pastry used to make kol böreği or peynirli sigara (cheese rolls) and, of course, the famous gözleme.
Milföy böreği (puff pastry) variations are often to be found in patisseries or on street food stands, cut into various shapes and offering a choice of fillings. You might have seen them on the beaches in summer, being sold as cheese pie or apple pie to English-speaking visitors.
Anyway, after watching numerous TV chefs happily using frozen puff pastry (we can make our own shortcrust pastry but that’s where our pastry skills end), and after asking Turkish friends if they use frozen puff pastry (they do), we decided to join the party and start experimenting, ourselves…
Why Spinach & Potato Filling?
Spinach and potato are two foods that are almost always present in our house just because they’re two ingredients that are so easy to cook with (spinach and eggs – ıspanaklı yumurta is a favourite). We’ve played around with other fillings, too, but well, we had to do a classic Turkish combination to start with, didn’t we? Spinach and potato go perfectly together and they’re regular partners in Turkish börek dishes.
An Extra Meal
You can also get extra dishes from your hefty Turkish spinach, too. See all those stems that have been trimmed away there after washing? Well, keep hold of those because they can be used to make a meze of spinach stem salad. Much tastier than it sounds!
Your spinach is going to be sauteed. First of all, we sweat off a finely chopped onion in olive oil until it becomes translucent and then we add the roughly chopped spinach. If you cook with spinach often, you’ll know that the huge bulk in the pan will soon wilt down to a much more manageable amount. A splash of water and a spoonful of acı salça (spicy tomato paste) and we leave our spinach and onions to simmer for 10 minutes or so.
Make Your Filling
Meanwhile, have a couple of potatoes, cut up into small chunks, boiling on the hob. Once they have softened, you’re going to drain them and then fork through them. We don’t like them completely mashed; just a bit broken up here and there. This is then mixed with the spinach. It doesn’t look pretty but trust us on the taste.
Time To Roll The Börek
When you buy frozen puff pastry in Turkey, it’s sold in small square sheets. These are an ideal size for making your rolls – handy! And, the great thing with puff pastry is, it’s really easy to work with.
We put two generous teaspoonfuls of filling along the top edge of the pastry, leaving a gap of around 1 centimetre. Then you just need to take the bottom edge of the pastry, fold it over the top of the filling and tuck it under. do a gentle roll so that the two edges stick. You don’t need to worry about them being firmly stuck because this is going to be your base and puff pastry behaves well.
Room To Grow
It’s a good job that puff pastry behaves, too, because, if you’ve been generous with your filling, it will start to escape from either side as you roll. Just keep gently teasing it back inside and your pastry will stretch to accommodate it.
And here’s a lesson learned from our puff pastry roll experiments. When you are placing them, fold side down, on your greased baking tray, make sure you leave a decent gap between each. The clue’s in the title. Your pastry will puff! Give your rolls room to expand so that they don’t all grow and stick together.
Spinach & Potato Puff Pastry Rolls Recipe & Method
Okay, let’s do some measurements and method for ıspanaklı patatesli milföy böreği – Turkish spinach and potato puff pastry rolls:
- 14 puff pastry squares, thawed
- 300g spinach, washed, stems removed and leaves roughly chopped
- 2 medium sized potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
- 1 onion peeled and finally chopped
- 1 dessert spoonful salça (tomato puree)
- 1 tsp chilli flakes (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Olive oil for frying
- Add potatoes to a pan of boiling water and boil until soft
- Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a frying pan and add onions
- Sautee on a medium heat until they start to go translucent
- Now add spinach leaves and stir until they wilt
- Add a generous splash of cold water and stir in the salça
- Add chilli flakes and salt and pepper and mix
- Simmer for 5 minutes or so
- Once potatoes are soft, drain, fork through and add to the spinach mixture
- Stir it all together and allow to cool
- Preheat oven according to instructions on puff pastry
- Lightly grease a baking tray
- Take one puff pastry square at a time and place two teaspoonfuls of mixture on the top edge of the pastry, leaving a gap of around 1cm along the top
- Now take the bottom edge and fold it over the filling, tucking it underneath at the other side
- Place each roll on your baking tray, fold side down, leaving a generous gap between each roll
- Lightly brush the top of each roll with beaten egg or milk
- Place in the centre of your oven and bake until the pastry has puffed and turned golden
Our recipe makes 14 spinach and potato puff pastry rolls. Each puff pastry square is around 10cm square.
Your puff pastry rolls can be baked in batches if you have no room on the tray and they are just as tasty eaten cold as well as hot.
Our oven is a fan oven and instructions on milföy böreği suggest baking at 220 degrees. We've adjusted this and we bake our milföy böreği at 180 degrees.
You’ll see in the notes on our spinach and potato puff pastry rolls recipe that we have adjusted temperatures from those suggested on the packet instructions. You know your own oven. Ours is a small, fan-assisted oven so 180 degrees is easily hot enough for us.
Once your pastry has puffed and is golden, remove from the oven. Mmm, and this is the great bit. You can eat some hot, straight away. Yummy. And these rolls are just as tasty cold as they are hot. So you can make lots either for sharing with friends…or for keeping some to yourself and having a naughty treat as and when.
Spinach & Potato Puff Pastry Rolls Recipe – Useful Info
- If you are buying puff pastry in Turkey, it is called milföy böreği and is sold in squares.
- This is just one type of milföy böreği recipe. We’ll be doing more puff pastry recipes in the future.
- This recipe is in the börek section on our blog.
- If you love Turkish food and want to make your own at home, you can visit our dedicated page for lots of other Turkish recipe suggestions.
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