Sweet Tahini Borekas

By: Hannah Lee Leidy
Hanukkah Recipes: Sweet Tahini Borekas
Photo courtesy of Pomegranate Restaurant

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About 3 pounds

  • 1 cup raw tahini
  • ½ cup dulce de leche
  • ½ cup cream of coconut
  • Flour for dusting
  • 1½ pounds Boreka Dough (recipe follows) or store-bought puff pastry
  • Water for sealing
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 3 tablespoons white sesame seeds
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water

  • Boreka Dough 
  • 20 ounces (5 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 5 ¼ cups flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 4 teaspoons canola oil
  • 4 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
  • ½ cup club soda, plus more as needed
  1. Combine tahini, dulce de leche, and cream of coconut; whisk them until the mixture is incorporated, thick, and tacky, then transfer the mixture to a pastry bag or sturdy ziplock bag. Set it aside.  
  2. Generously dust a work surface, your rolling pin, and the dough with flour. If the dough is very cold and impossible to roll, let it soften slightly at room temperature, just 10 minutes or so. Roll it into a 16-to 18-inch square. As you work, flip it occasionally, loosening the edges with a bench scraper or thin spatula to make sure it doesn’t soften or stick; sprinkle more flour if you need it. Use a knife or pizza cutter to trim away any jagged edges.
  3. Wipe away any excess flour, then cut the dough into approximately 4-inch squares and brush a thin layer of water all over. Snip the corner of the pastry bag so you have ½ inch opening, leaving a ½ inch border, pipe the filling in a strip along one edge of each square, 1 ½ to 2 tablespoons per piece. Roll the dough snuggly around the filling, pressing it to a seal, then continue to roll it around itself until you have a tight cigar. Gently pinch the seams shut with your fingers.  
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment and arrange the borekas closely together, side by side with the seam down. Unlike most baked goods you want these to touch each other a little as they cook—that helps the sides stay tender while the tops brown more deeply. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.  
  5. Heat the oven to 425 degrees and beat together the egg, yolk, and milk. Brush it evenly over the borekas and sprinkle about ½ teaspoon of sesame seeds on top of each one. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the tops are crisped up and deeply golden.  


Boreka Dough

  1. Cut the butter into slices ¼ to ½ inch thick. Spread them in a layer on a plate or baking sheet and refrigerate or freeze until they’re firm (but not like ice cubes) 
  2. Add the flour and salt to a large mixing bowl, preferably the bowl of your stand mixer. Gradually stir In the butter, with the paddle attachment on low speed or with a pastry cutter, until the smallest chunks are pea-sized and the largest chunks are flaky like silver dollars  
  3. Pour in the oil and vinegar, then gradually add the club soda, stirring between each addition. There will still be distinct pieces of butter and dry bits of flour—you’re not looking for a moist or smooth dough—so gauge it by pinching pieces between your fingers. It’s ready when it starts to clump together. If you need more sad, add it 1 tablespoon at a time.  
  4. Lightly flour your work surface and empty the dough onto it. Use a light tough and the heels of your hands to shape it into a rectangle about 2 inches thick, the size of a hardback book. Careful not to let the butter start melting on you: a decisive touch will get the job done faster, so don’t linger with it. Wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.  
  5. On a floured surface, roll the dough into a rectangle about 12 by 18 inches; use the sides of your hands or a bench scraper to square off the edges so they stay neat and even, and dust more flour as needed to keep the dough from getting sticky. Fold it in thirds as you would a letter (a bench scraper is helpful here to help you lift and manipulate the dough), then glide your rolling pin lengthwise along the dough once or twice just to smooth out any air pockets. Fold it in half, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour  
  6. This process—rolling, folding, and chilling—constitutes one ‘turn’ in the process of making laminated dough. Do it two more times, then cut the dough in half and wrap each one tightly in plastic. Store the dough in the refrigerator or freezer until you’re ready to use it. If it’s frozen, let it thaw completely in the fridge.  
  • Recipe By
    Alon Shaya of Saba Restaurant in New Orleans

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