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Sarailie - Baklawa filled with cheese


The Turkish/Ottoman Empire reigned over Romania and many Romanian dishes were influenced by it. Sarailie is a type of Baklava/Baklawa filled with nuts and soaked in sugar syrup and honey with a pinch of rose water (or orange Blossom water).
This time – I filled it with a cheese filling – very similar to the ingredients of the Papanash patties, and made it a dairy sweet for Shavuot. The dairy version comes out softer and moister than the original nut Sarailie.

  • Duration
  • Cook Time
  • Prep Time
  • ServingsServings


  • 1 pound Phyllo pastry (14 sheets), defrosted in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours

For the Filling

  • 2 cups Farmer cheese or Ricotta cheese
  • 4 Tbs sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • A pinch of salt
  • Lemon and orange zest
  • 2 Tbs instant pudding or cornstarch
  • 1 egg
  • Optional: raisins or dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup each melted butter and canola oil for brushing

For the Syrup

  • 1 2/3 cup water
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • Juice from one lemon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Flower Blossom water or Rose water (to taste: if it's an extract – use cautiously)
  • 1 wooden skewer !


Mix all the filling's ingredients.

Lay out one layer of Phyllo and cover the rest with a dry kitchen towel/cloth. Phyllo pastry dries really fast so make sure you cover the sheets that aren't in use.

Cut the Phyllo sheet lengthwise to 3 equal rectangles.  Brush the sheet with a mixture of melted butter and oil.  Cut a wooden skewer in two, place one half of the skewer on top of one of the rectangles' width, nearest to your body.

Put the filling in a plastic piping bag and press out a narrow line of filling, next to and parallel to the skewer.

Roll the Phyllo on the skewer and the filling till the end of the sheet And this is the little trick that makes these Baklava fingers look wrinkled:

Push, with both your hands' fingers, from both sides of the roll, to the center.  Take out the skewer and place in a heat-proof Pyrex dish.

After the dish is filled with Sarailie "fingers", give it another brush with melted butter and bake in medium temperature for 35-45 minutes, till it gets a golden- Brownish color.

In the meantime, prepare the syrup:

Heat water, sugar, honey and the rest of the ingredients in a saucepan. Let is simmer for several minutes.

When the Sarailie come out of the oven, drizzle the syrup over them, gradually, till they soak the liquid. At this point – you can choose how much syrup you want to add to it. No need to use it all. You can save it in the fridge or freezer for later use.