Cookbook Profile

Garlic and Cheese Betzels

Phyllo Triangles (Algeria)
Makes 32 Betzels


Garlic and Cheese BetzelsBetzels, or pastels, is the Sephardic term for what the Algerians call samsas and the Moroccans call briouats. Whether rolled into the shape of a cigar or shaped into tasty little triangles, betzels can enfold a variety of fillings, from cheese to meats and seafood these particular betzels cannot be frozen, but they will keep uncooked in an air tight container in the refrigerator for 3 or 4 days.


8 eggs
1 cup (4 ounces) freshly grated Gruyère cheese
10 to 12 garlic cloves, minced
24 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs, minced
5 fresh mint leaves, minced
12 green olives, pitted and minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
8 sheets (about 8 ounces) frozen phyllo dough, thawed
Vegetable oil for frying
Lemon wedges for garnish


In a medium saucepan, place 6 of the eggs, add water to cover, and bring the water to a low boil. Cook the eggs for 12 to 15 minutes. Drain and let cool. Peel, place the eggs in a medium bowl, and mash them coarsely with a fork. Mix in the cheese, garlic, parsley, mint, olives, salt, pepper, paprika, and 1 lightly beaten raw egg.

Cover a working surface with a damp towel. Carefully unwrap the phyllo and unfold it on the towel. with the long edge of the phyllo facing you, and using a sharp knife, cut vertically through the stacked sheets of dough to make 4 equal sections, each about 4-1/2 inches wide. Cover with another damp towel if you are not using the phyllo immediately.

Place 1 tablespoon of the filling about 1 inch from the bottom edge of one strip. Fold over a bottom corner of the strip to cover the filling. Continue folding as you would a flag, to obtain a triangular shape. Beat the remaining egg and use it to seal the top edge. Repeat the process until all the filling has been used.

In a heavy, medium saucepan, pour oil to a depth of 2 inches and heat it over medium-high heat until it reaches 325 degrees F, or a piece of the dough sizzles instantly. Fry the pastries in batches to avoid crowding them, until golden, about 6 to 8 minutes, and drain them well on paper towels. Serve at once with lemon wedges.

Buy the Book!


The Vegetarian Table: North Africa
By Kitty Morse
Chronicle Books, 2000
Paperback, $16.95
Color photographs throughout
ISBN: 0-8118-3037-3
Recipe reprinted by permission.


The Vegetarian Table: North Africa



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This page created December 2000