You will need a shallow baking dish or oven tray for this recipe.
I still remember my mother rolling out her homemade pastry onto cotton sheets, begging us not to touch or step on them. Pita was my lunchbox food and burek was the meaty winner that mum would often serve with chopped potato because she knew what a spud fiend I was. This recipe is also great with store-bought filo sheets if you're on a time crunch and kajmak (clotted cream), ajvar (capsicum relish) and plenty of cracked pepper are all screaming for a piece of this pie.
- 600 g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 2 tsp salt
- 300 ml warm water
- 70 ml vegetable oil, plus extra for brushing
- 40 g butter
- 200 g beef mince
- 200 g veal or lamb mince
- 1 large brown onion, grated
- 2 Sebago or Desiree potatoes, grated (optional, but recommended!)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Resting time: 30-75 mins
- For the pastry, combine 400 g flour and salt in a bowl. Stir in the lukewarm water and oil until the dough is sticky. Add the remaining flour and the dough will take shape.
- Turn onto a floured surface and knead for 4-5 minutes until smooth and the dough doesn’t stick to your hands.
- Divide the dough into two even balls, place them back into the bowl. Coat with a little oil and cover with a tea towel and rest for 30-60 minutes. If you can rest for up to 60 minutes then I would recommend that.
- For the filling, combine both mince and grated onion into a bowl and season with salt. Add your grated potato if you’re using it here.
- Preheat the oven to 220°C.
- To prepare and stretch the dough, line your table with a clean cotton tablecloth. Take one of your dough rounds and place it on the cloth. Using a rolling pin, proceed to roll out the dough to a large circle, ensuring it is even. Once a large even circle is created let it rest for 15 minutes. Use your fingers to gently pull and stretch the dough towards you, working your way around the cloth edge. Ensure you don’t stretch too quickly or harshly to avoid tearing. Continue to do this until the dough is even, thin and in a rectangular shape. Trim and discard the thick outer edges to even the dough out.
- Drizzle a little vegetable oil across the pastry sheet. Begin to dot with your hands the meat mixture, placing half the filling across the sheet and leaving a 4 cm border from the edge to allow for an even roll. Cracker pepper over the sheet. Roll length-side away from you into a thin log.
- In a lightly greased round pan, tightly coil the filled pastry around the edges and work your way into a large snail shape with your dough. If you’re working with a rectangular tray then work into a zig-zag or snake shape.
- Repeat with the remaining dough and filling, including the pepper and then fold, placing the second pastry on the tray. Drizzle a little oil over the top and place in your oven for 25-30 minutes or until the top is golden and the pastry is crisp.
- 8 minutes before taking out your burek, heat 40 g of butter, a tsp of water, salt and pepper over the stove until brown.
- Remove your borek from the oven and sprinkle this butter over the pastry and return to the oven for the final 5 minutes to crisp.
- Remove from the oven and sprinkle a little water with your wet fingertips over the tray. You will hear the sizzle and then cover with a tea towel to slightly cool or dig in hot, if you wish.
- Serve with kajmak, ajvar and a glass of buttermilk.
• For best and easiest dough results, ensure you’re working at room temperature or in a warm environment to make the handling of the dough easier.
•If you are time poor then you can use store-bought filo pastry and simply work sheet by sheet with the filling and oil to create logs.