Shaily Lipa spent many a Saturday morning at her savta (grandma) Levana’s side, watching as she made the borekitas that were the centerpiece of the family’s weekly Shabbat breakfast. Filled with smoky eggplant and feta, the flaky pockets epitomized the traditions so dear to Levana, while serving as a weekly reminder of the Greek coastal city of Thessaloniki, or Salonika, that was home to a vibrant Jewish community of fifty thousand before the Holocaust wiped it out. One sunny morning at her home outside of Tel Aviv, Shaily, who grew up to become a respected food editor, cookbook author, and television personality, showed me how to make the magical dough at the heart of those borekitas. The method, which involves dumping flour all at once into boiling liquid, calls to mind pâte à choux, the classic French dough used to make cream puffs and eclairs, albeit here in different proportions. The addition of humble white vinegar transformed the dough into a pliant, velvety ball with no stickiness whatsoever. Shaily and I followed Levana’s recipe to a tee, filling, stamping, folding, crimping, and baking them to a golden glow. I loved the dough so much, I went home dreaming about how I could honor Levana’s recipe while making it the starting point for a main course. I rolled the dough into one huge circle, filled it with that same mix of eggplant and feta, topped it with olives and tomatoes, and folded it over to make a rustic galette that emerged from the oven sturdy enough to cut, yet as deliciously flaky as I remembered (the eggplant filling can be made a day in advance). Served with a side of the silky roasted peppers, a wedge of this galette hits the spot.
Make the filling: Chop the charred eggplant until chunky and transfer it to a large bowl. Gently fold in the feta, dill, olive oil, jalapeño, salt, and black pepper until incorporated.
Make the dough: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. In a medium saucepan, bring the vegetable oil, ⅔ cup water, and salt to a boil over high heat (the water will form ½-inch bubbles that begin to pop through the oil; that’s what boiling looks like here). Remove the saucepan from the heat, add the vinegar, then add the flour mixture all at once and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the flour drinks up the liquid and a unified, velvety dough forms; let the dough cool for 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Set a large piece of parchment paper on the counter. Using lightly floured hands, form the dough into a ball. Place it in the center of the parchment paper and gently roll it into a 12-inch round about ¼ inch thick (the dough is soft, go easy on it). Transfer the dough-topped parchment paper to a baking sheet.
To assemble and bake: Dollop the filling into the center of the dough round and spread it out, leaving a 1-inch border around the edges. Fold the dough up and over the filling (if you’ve ever made a galette, it’s the same idea—very rustic!) so that the dough forms a 1-inch frame around the filling. Brush the edges of the dough with the egg mixture, then sprinkle the edges with the cheese. Arrange the tomato slices and olives on top of the galette and bake until the tomatoes are wilted and the dough is golden and flaky, 35 to 40 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve warm or at room temperature.