This pie takes a wee while to put together, but oh, my! It is sweet, savoury and utterly delicious!
Boureki is traditionally made with feta, but I had a block of halloumi in the fridge that was taking up precious space. Normally, we would have it grilled with a salad, but I had a hankering for a Greek-style pie. It doesn’t melt in the pie, but it gets so soft it is imperceptible texture-wise, but that rich, salty taste shines through and beautifully compliments the sweet onions and peppers.
Serves 4 as a main or 8 as a starter
5 large yellow onions
80ml (1/3 cup) dry white wine
2 large red peppers
3 large cloves garlic
250g (9oz) halloumi
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh marjoram
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
freshly ground black pepper
12 sheets of phyllo (more or less, depending on size)
Halve and slice the onions into semicircles about 1cm (about 1/2”) wide. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet and cook the onions, stirring frequently over low heat until caramelised, about 45 minutes. Pour in the wine and cook a further 5 minutes, until the liquid has evaporated. Transfer the onions to a mixing bowl and set aside.
Slice the peppers lengthwise about 1cm (about 1/2”) wide. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in the skillet and cook the peppers over medium-low heat until soft and starting to brown, about 20 minutes. Finely chop the garlic and add to the skillet, reduce heat to low and cook for another 5 minutes until garlic is soft. Add to onions and allow to cool to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 190°C (375°F) and oil a 2 litre (2 quart) shallow casserole or baking dish.
Roughly grate the halloumi using the large holes on a box grater, then add to the onions and pepper, along with marjoram and lemon juice. Add pepper to taste.
Line the casserole or baking dish with two sheets of phyllo, making sure to leave some overhang, and brush generously with olive oil. Repeat three more times for a total of eight sheets. Make sure to keep the other sheets covered with a clean towel while you work, so they don’t dry out.
Scoop the filling in and spread it out evenly.
Fold the overhanging phyllo over the filling and brush layers with oil.
To cover the top, you want another 8 layers – my phyllo sheets were the perfect size to fold in half, so I used four sheets, but you may need to use more depending on size. Again, brush every second layer with oil, and finish with a good coating over the top. Tuck the edges in as best you can.
Use a very sharp knife to score the phyllo almost all the way through – this will make it much easier to cut when cooked.
Place on the middle shelf in the oven and bake for around 45 minutes, until well browned.
Allow to cool for ten minutes before serving hot, or allow to cool completely and serve at room temperature.