Cheese Borek with Carrot Purée

Ana Sortun

Oleana and Sofra Bakery and Café, Cambridge, MA


Cheese Borek:

  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 3/4 cup plain whole milk Greek yogurt
  • 2 whole eggs plus 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 sheets store‐bought yufka pastry, weighing about 2 pounds (many brands of yufka are available online)
  • Four 4‐ounce balls buffalo milk mozzarella, grated
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose lour
  • 2 tablespoons nigella seeds
  • 2 tablespoons ground pumpkin seeds

Carrot Purée:

  • 2 pounds carrots, cut into 2‐inch chunks
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons brown butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat the oven to 425°F. Butter an 8‐inch square baking dish or an 11- by 7‐inch baking pan with 1 tablespoon melted butter.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, yogurt, whole eggs, and salt until very smooth. Whisk in the remaining 7 tablespoons melted butter.

Cut the yufka pastry so that you have about eight large pieces that cover the bottom of the pan—it’s okay if they don’t fit the pan perfectly or if the edges hang over; you can fold everything over the top at the end of assembling.

Place one layer of yufka on the bottom of the pan and brush lavishly with the milk mixture. Repeat until you have four layers of brushed pastry. Distribute the mozzarella over the top of the four soaked yufka layers. Place another four layers of yufka over the cheese filling, brushing with the milk mixture between every layer.

Using a small knife, cut slits into the borek, scoring the pastry so that the custard seeps into the cuts. Make 10 to 12 cuts. It doesn’t matter if it breaks up the pastry; you can press it back down with your hands. You don’t need to worry about doing it neatly; the cuts will disappear while the borek bakes.

Mix the remaining milk mixture with the egg yolks and flour. Pour over the top and let soak for 20 minutes. Eventually, the liquid soaks into the pie, so don’t worry if it seems like a lot. Sprinkle the top with the nigella and ground pumpkin seeds.

Place the borek in the oven and lower the heat to 350°F. Bake for about 50 minutes, until golden on top and puffy. Let rest for 15 minutes before slicing.

Meanwhile, make the carrot purée. Place the carrots in a large saucepan covered with water and bring to a simmer. Simmer for at least 20 to 25 minutes, or until the carrots are very tender. Drain and reserve 2 cups of cooking liquid.

Add the carrots, their liquid, and the brown butter to a food processor or blender and purée until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve the sliced borek with the carrot purée alongside.


1 pie, 8 to 10 servings