Boureki – potato & zucchini pie is a delicious summer pie found in Crete, Greece. Typically made in the summertime when there is an abundance of vegetables and fresh herbs, but can easily be enjoyed year-round.
What is Boureki?
Boureki is a layered potato and zucchini pie with mizithra cheese, mint, and other fresh herbs. It can have a crust top and bottom or be cooked as an open pie.
Traditional boureki – potato & zucchini pie is usually made with soft sour myzithra or anthotyro cheese. You can find them in supermarkets in Greek communities around the USA. Here I provide an alternative mix of Greek feta, full-fat ricotta and a little Philadelphia cheese to achieve similar flavors.
In Crete they use half a cup of Tsikoudia in the dough. Tsikoudia is an alcoholic beverage, a fragrant, grape-based pomace brandy of Cretan origin that contains 40% to 65% alcohol by volume. Tsikoudia is made by distilling what remains of grapes pressed in winemaking. It is difficult to find where I live so I substitute with fresh lemon juice.
You will need:
- All purpose flour
- Fresh lemon juice
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Yukon gold potatoes
- a mix or ricotta, feta and cream cheese or mizithra cheese
- A generous bunch of fresh mint leaves
- Sesame seeds
Let’s make boureki!
Make the dough and let it rest for a couple of hours.
Mix all cheese and fresh mint together well. Add 2-3 tbs olive oil. Season with a generous amount of fresh ground pepper. Mix again well.
Cut your dough in two pieces, one bigger than the other. Roll out the bigger one, enough to cover your pan sides and bottom.
Start layering cheese, potatoes and zucchini slices. Repeat three times if you can. Gently press down as you add more layers.
Roll out your second piece of dough Place it on top of the filled out pie and tuck in the edges nicely.
Brush a little olive oil all over top. Sprinkle sesame seeds and poppy seeds (poppy seeds totally optional, I just like the contrast they give).
Very gently mark the pie into even square pieces.
Bake for at least 1 hour and 30 min.
Depending on your oven it might take up to 2 hours to cook. You want the potatoes and zucchini cooked thoroughly. Cover the pie with aluminum foil half way if you need to to avoid it browning too much.
Tips and tricks
- You can use the already made pie crust you find in the supermarket. I do it all the time when I can’t face making a crust from scratch.
- You can also use the thicker phyllo sheets like the ones from The Fillo Factory.
- Divide the sheets in half.
- Sprinkle some olive oil between each phyllo sheet and add half of the sheets to the bottom of your pan.
- Layer potato-zucchini-cheese as directed and cover with the rest of the sheets. The same rule applies; sprinkle olive oil between each phyllo sheet before adding it to the pan.
- Important: Cover the phyllo with a kitchen towel while you are separating and layering to the pan. That way, they stay moist and won’t crack.
- Easily substitute mint with basil.
No crust? No problem!
We often make this pie without any crust at all. Just alternate layers of potatoes, zucchini and cheese finishing with a layer of potatoes. Sprinkle some gruyere or parmesan cheese on top, cover with aluminum foil and bake for an hour. Uncover, sprinkle some more grated cheese and bake for another half hour or so. Test to make sure it is cooked through. The result is a delicious potato-zucchini gratin.
I really enjoy making boureki in the summer. The mint combined with the cheese, olive oil and zucchini has a distinct greek summer scent, very Cretan. I close my eyes and transport to my favorite Cretan beach, holding a piece or boureki with my feet in the turquoise blue sea water.
You may also like
- These tomato fritters are an easy, delicious appetizer for your summer gatherings.
- Gemista is another great summer food that will satisfy and comfort. I love them in room temperature with a piece of feta on the side.
- Find out how to make the famous Greek tomato salad – horiatiki.
Check all the pantry items a Greek kitchen wouldn’t go without.
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Boureki – Potato & Zucchini Pie
For The Dough
- 3½ cups all purpose flour
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup lemon juice raki or
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup of water
- 4-5 medium size zucchini cut in thin coins
- 4-5 yukon gold potatoes cut in thin slices
- 32 oz ricotta cheese
- 7 oz feta cheese crumbled I like Dodoni feta cheese
- 4 oz cream cheese
Herbs & Seasonigs
- 1 big bunch of fresh mint finely chopped (only the leaves)
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt
- fresh ground pepper
- sesame seeds
- poppy seeds optional
Make The Dough
- Mix the flour with the salt. Combine the water with the olive oil and the lemon juice. Start adding the water and olive oil mix into the flour, mix well until you have a soft dough that does not stick to the hands. Cover with a damp towel and let it rest for 2 hours.
Make The Filling
- Cut the zucchini into thin slices, about 2-3 mm. Add salt, mix well and place in a colander in the sink to allow the zucchini to release any liquid.
- Peel potatoes and cut into thin slices about 2-3 mm. Season with salt and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, mix all cheese and fresh mint together. Add 2-3 tbs olive oil. Season with a generous amount of fresh ground pepper. Mix again well.
Roll Out The Dough
- Divide the dough into two pieces, one a little bigger than the other. Wrap the smaller piece in the towel and put it aside.
- Starting with the bigger piece, lightly flour the work surface and rolling pin and working quickly, gently begin to roll the dough from the center outward. Apply even pressure and rotate the dough after every few passes, flipping the dough over occasionally and adding more flour as necessary.
- Check if the dough is the correct size for your pan. It should be large enough to cover the sides of your pan. Oil all sides of the pan with a little olive oil.
- Gently press the dough into the pan. If any tears or holes form, patch them with extra scraps of dough. Make sure all sides of the pan are covered. Trim any excess dough.
Preheat the oven at 350 F.
Add The Fillings
- Add a light layer of cheese first. Follow with a layer of potato slices—season with some freshly ground pepper. Add an even layer of zucchini slices. Add a layer of the cheese mix. Add another layer of potatoes, zucchini, etc., following the same process. Gently press down as you add more layers. Finish with a layer of cheese.
- Roll out your second piece of dough following the same process as before. Place it on top of the pie and tuck in the edges nicely. Evenly brush a little olive oil all over the dough. Sprinkle 2-3 tbs of sesame seeds on top. Sprinkle a pinch or two of poppy seeds. Very gently mark the pie into even square pieces.
- Bake for at least 1 hour and 30 min. Depending on your oven, it might take up to 2 hours. You want the potatoes and zucchini cooked thoroughly. Cover the pie with aluminum foil halfway if you need to to avoid browning too much.
- Let it cool completely before serving. It is best enjoyed cold or at room temperature.
- You can use ready made thicker phyllo like The Fillo Factory # 10 fillo dough | horiatiko | 14×18″ sheets.
- My baking pan is almost a perfect square, about 12″ x 10.5″. This recipe makes 18 small pieces that can be served as an appetizer or 9 bigger pieces that can be a main dish paired with a Greek salad.