A fun cooking and baking week for me! Monday I had the pleasure of being at Sephardic Temple working with a delightful group of ladies as they prepared for the Sephardic Food Festival this Sunday ( at STTI, doors open at 3 p.m.!) I look forward to sharing some of their recipes next week.
On Thursday, while at the market, I found some beautiful eggplants…..just looking to be made into a “conduchu” (filling) for “Burekas de Berengina” ( eggplant filled turnovers). SO…I brought them home. I called my mom on Friday morning to see if she would come spend the day baking with me. When she said yes, I asked if we could tackle “Boyos de spinaka” ( pronounced “Boyus” by Rhodeslis!) (individual spinach/cheese pies). She said yes and reviewed with me the ingredients we would need. I ran to the market, stopped to pick up my mom, and our day of baking began!!!
While I began slicing, dicing and preparing the filling for the burekas, my mom began the dough for the boyos.
Just so you know…..we ultimately made a full recipe of boyos ( 45), a recipe of burekas (84), then decided that we would have dinner together….maybe some fried fish and “agrestada” ( a divine lemon sauce for fried fish)….which definitely requires homemade “panizicos” (bread) for “untaring” ( dipping and scooping) the “agrestada”….so we made a recipe of “pan de casa” (homemade bread), too!!! With all this good food, we invited some guests and enjoyed the evening!! For today, we’ll share the recipe and method for making Boyos de Spinaka.
Let us know what you think!!! Your comments, aside from offering us feedback, will let us know what other recipes to tackle and provide an interactive forum for your ideas, recollections, and thoughts! We look forward to hearing from you!
Boyos de Spinaka
An absolute all-time favorite in any Rhodesli household, these individual spinach pies ( a description that never quite does them justice!!), are distinguished by their flaky dough and savory filling. The following rhyme, penned by my dad, Jack Israel, some 50 years ago, seems to say it well:
“O, Boyo, hear my anxious plea, that I might taste your savory cheese,
with spinach and dough in it’s flaky form, and a delightful aroma when you are warm,
O Boyo, please reveal yourself, so I might find you on our grocer’s shelf!”
Kaye Israel’s Method for Boyos de Spinaka
Ingredients for filling:
(large bag, 2.5 lbs, works well)
wash spinach, cut and DRY WELL
sprinkle with salt (1 tblsp)
add 3 – 4 C grated cheese
mix cheese and spinach well during process of filling boyos ( cheese will often settle to bottom of bowl).
Ingredients for dough:
4 C water
1 tsp dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
Begin by proofing your yeast: combine 1/2 C water (tepid, lukewarm), 1 tsp dry yeast, 1 tsp sugar. Allow to sit for 15 minutes, making sure it foams.
Using an electric mixer outfitted with a dough hook:
in mixing bowl ad 3 1/2 C water (tepid, lukewarm), add yeast mixture, and salt. Turn mixer on low as you begin adding flour, 1 cup at a time. After all flour is incorporated into dough, mix on medium, until dough begins pulling away from the sides of the bowl. Looking for a smooth, soft dough – one that does not stick to your hands. Key is using as little flour as possible to achieve this consistency. Turn dough onto lightly floured work surface.
Work into a smooth dough. Cover the dough with a sheet of plastic wrap. Spray plastic wrap with a cooking spray so it will not stick to the dough. Tuck plastic wrap around dough….nice and snug.
Cover with a towel and place dough in a place with no draft ( a cold oven works well). Allow dough to rise for 20 minutes.
After the dough has risen, return to your work area. Prepare a “marina” ( baking pan) or a baking sheet with sides by adding approx. 1/4″ of oil to bottom of pan. Make dough balls ( approx 1 1/2″ in diameter- see video). Roll them on your work surface so they are smooth. Place in oil on baking pan. Turn them so all surface of ball are cover in oil. Continue making all dough balls. (will likely require more than one baking pan).
If working solo, it will likely take 20-30 minutes to prepare the dough. This will allow the first balls made to have a chance to sit and “rest” and become ready to open. Begin opening the dough that was rolled and placed in the oil first.
On your work surface, open your dough. The goal is to open the dough as flat, thin and large as possible, WITHOUT making any holes in the dough. This is best accomplishes using a small rolling pin. My cousin Sarita recently found a great one for this purpose online from Pampered Chef. You might want to check it out:
Once your dough is opened, place a hand full of your prepared spinach and cheese in the middle of the dough. Roll it like a jelly roll. Coil the roll, as in the video. Place on your baking sheet. Repeat, making all your boyos. Paint with an egg wash ( 1 beaten egg with 2 tsp of water added). Sprinkle with grated cheese. Place in a preheated 350 degree oven. Watch oven until boyos are a golden brown ( about 15 minutes). Remove from oven. (Take a bite of one…and know divine flavor!!!!)
**Once cool, boyos freeze well. ***To enjoy from freezer, remove from freezer and allow to sit for about 30 minutes, then reheat in a 300 degree oven. Can defrost for 30 seconds in microwave before placing in 300 degree oven or toaster oven. DO NOT REHEAT IN MICROWAVE !!! (This will result in a soggy boyo….the beauty of a boyo is the crisp, flaky dough!!!!)