Israeli Chief Rabbinate tackles quandary of pastry fillings

( Members of the Israeli Chief Rabbinate’s Kashrut Division called a meeting this week to discuss the problematic and potentially misleading shapes of an Israeli bakery staple, the puff pastry known as a “boureka” that is stuffed with various cheeses, meat or vegetable fillings, Israel Hayom reported.

One such pastry, about the size of your palm and shaped as a triangle, is particularly worrisome, and the rabbis involved are seeking to alter its shape in order to differentiate between dairy, parve (neither meat nor dairy) and meat fillings.

Kol Chai Radio, which broadcast the unique discussion, reported that a number of bakers, pastry chefs and food industry businessmen were invited to meet with rabbis who certify eateries as kosher. The participants sat around a table laden with pastries and discussed the questions that arise from the pastry’s geometry.

Rabbi Hagai Bar Giora, who is responsible for industrial kashrut certification, addressed the physical separation of dairy and parve pastries and stressed the gravity of clearly delineating dairy products on the shelves.

“That the cheese boureka is shaped like a triangle and the potato boureka is square has taken root in public consumer consciousness. We have received complaints from customers who bit into a triangular pastry thinking  that cheese was inside and discovered meat instead. Keeping kosher is of the utmost importance,” said Bar Giora.

The Chief Rabbinate is expected to release a new set of procedural guidelines to help the public distinguish between the dairy and parve fillings in like-shaped pastries, thus helping consumers avoid breaking the laws of kashrut and aiding those with lactose intolerance to avoid health issues. 

Posted on February 8, 2013 .