My Kitchen From Scratch

Caramelized Pears & Ricotta Cigarette Börek (Sigara Böreği)

Posted on: December 3, 2010

Caramelized Pears & Ricotta Cigarette Börek (Sigara Böreği)

If you think phyllo dough can only be used to make baklava, think again. Phyllo dough is so versatile, you can use them as a wrapper for any kinds of filling. When it’s nice and thawed (they usually come frozen), the sheets of dough are soft and paper thin. Just add your favorite filling and shape them into mini triangles, large triangles like the Greek spanakopita (spinach hand pie) or square ones. Brush the pastry with butter, finish up with some egg wash and bake till it’s golden brown.

Since pears are in season, I thought their sweetness would go well with the creaminess and mild taste of ricotta cheese. Caramelizing the pears with brown sugar and butter not only softens them but it brings out the beautiful flavor and making it more pronounced. If you have some ground cloves or nutmeg, I would add a pinch as well. Your kitchen would smell just like Christmas.


  • 1 roll of frozen phyllo dough, thawed (my box comes with two rolls)
  • 3-4 pears, peeled, cored, and sliced into thin wedges
  • 4-5 tbsp brown sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp room temperature butter for pears + 2 tbsp melted butter for brushing
  • 1 lb ricotta cheese
  • 1 lemon, zests reserved and halved
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • handful of roasted pistachio nuts, shelled and crushed
  • parchment paper
  • baking tray


  1. Preheat the oven at 400 F.
  2. Cook pears with brown sugar, salt and 2 tablespoons of butter under medium heat for about 10 minutes until caramelized and soft. Draw out as much moisture as possible. When done, let it cool in a bowl.
  3. Mix the pears with ricotta cheese, lemon zests and a small squeeze of lemon juice in a mixing bowl. Taste the filling and make sure it’s sweet enough,
  4. Unroll the phyllo dough on a clean surface or a large chopping board. It should look like a rectangle. Arrange them in such a way that the shorter side is facing you.
  5. Use a sharp knife and cut the dough in the middle crosswise into two equal portions that look like squares.
  6. On a plate, place two sheets of square phyllo. Put your filling in (about 1 tablespoon) and roll it up tight like a cigarette.
  7. Immediately brush the börek with butter on all sides and transfer to a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Repeat with the rest of the filling and phyllo dough.
  8. Brush the börek with the beaten egg wash on the top and sprinkle with crushed pistachios. Bake for about 15  minutes or until golden brown.
  9. Serve immediately.

(recipe adapted from Potato Cigarette Börek by Binnur’s Turkish Cookbook)

Final notes

  1. Make sure there’s minimal moisture in the filling or it would leak out from the börek and the bottom won’t be crunchy.
  2. Try making cigarette börek with ricotta, roasted mushrooms, and a touch of Worcestershire sauce for a savory appetizer.

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2 Responses to "Caramelized Pears & Ricotta Cigarette Börek (Sigara Böreği)"

This looks like a great twist on Turkish borek. Thanks for sharing!

Thank you for stopping by! You have plenty of Turkish and Middle Eastern recipes on your blog that I would try. I’ll be stopping by more often soon. =)

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