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Author Notes: Burek is without a doubt the most beloved pie in the Balkan area. It's incredibly simple to make, yet so comforting that we love to have a piece from the bakery on our way home at 5 am. You can also eat it for lunch or dinner ;)
The recipe comes from my grandmother - she lived in Bosnia for a few years where she learned how to make phyllo dough and all sorts of pies (pitas). However, burek is the one we would always beg her to make for our Sunday lunch. —empirical_kitchen
Serves: a very hungry balkan family of 6
pounds minced veal
medium-sized yellow onions, diced
teaspoon spice mix of your choice (optional)
cup water, divided
packet phyllo dough (18-20 sheets, 1 pound)
- Put the minced meat into a bowl and add the onions, salt, pepper, and the spice mix of choice. You can use whatever you prefer to season your meat with. I've even used za'atar or herbes de Provence with very tasty results (although this is quite blasphemous).
- Mix everything thoroughly with your hands and add 1/2 cup of boiling water. Mix again, this time with a wooden spoon - you don't want to burn yourself. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave in the fridge for 30 min.
- Meantime, preheat the oven to 300 F (150 C). Assemble the pie by placing two sheets of phyllo dough on the counter and then line one side of the dough with the meat mixture - 1 teaspoon at the time. This way the meat won't create big hard chunks in the oven.
- Roll up the dough and place the log into a well-oiled pan. Repeat with the rest of the dough. This quantity should be enough for an 18x13" sheet pan. You can also place the logs in two 9" cake pans.
- Brush the logs with oil and cut them into 3" pieces, but make the cuts only half-way through the log.
- Bake at 300 F (150 C) for 50-60 min (until it starts browning). Put a pinch of salt in 1/2 cup of water and sprinkle all over the pie. Bake for additional 10 min until golden brown.
- Cover the hot pie with tea towels and leave it to cool down a bit before diving in (30 min or so).
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Recipes with 5 Ingredients or Fewer