In Bosnia, pita is the broad term for this pastry which is made with sweet and savoury fillings. Burek is the meat version, but it is also sometimes filled with soft white cheese. This recipe is a great snack.
650 g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
80 ml vegetable oil, plus extra to brush
200 g minced veal
200 g minced beef
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 tsp sweet paprika
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 minutes
To make pastry, combine 500 g flour and 2 tsp salt in a bowl. Stir in 375 ml warm water, 2 tbsp oil and enough of the remaining 150 g flour until mixture forms a soft dough that isn’t sticky. Turn onto a floured work surface and knead dough for 3 minutes or until smooth. Divide into 2 balls and flatten each to 2 cm-thick rounds. Place on a large plate and coat with 1 tbsp oil. Cover. Rest for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, to make filling, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
Preheat oven to 200°C. To stretch dough, line a long rectangular table with a clean cotton tablecloth. Take one round of dough and place the edge over the back of your hands, so the rest of it hangs in the air. One at a time, move your hands up and down to rotate the dough, working your way around the edge of the dough until its weight allows it to stretch into a larger piece. When it is too large to handle, place it on the tablecloth. Using your fingers, gently shake and pull the edge of the dough towards you to stretch out the centre, until it is even and transparent; the dough will eventually cover the tablecloth. Trim the thick outer edges and discard.
Drizzle pastry with remaining 1 tbsp oil. Fold in the 2 short sides to form narrow panels. Leaving a 5 cm border, place half the filling along the long edge closest to you, then fold border over filling. Roll up into a long, thin log.
Tightly coil burek on one-half of a greased oven tray. Repeat stretching and rolling with remaining dough and filling, placing second burek on other half of the tray. Brush generously with extra oil. Bake for 35 minutes or until the top and base are crisp and golden.
DRINK Bosnian rakia is hard to find here, so try Tekirdag Rakisi, Turkey ($53, 700ml)
As seen in Feast magazine, Issue 10, pg78.
Photography by Brett Stevens.