Balkan Food: Easiest Croatian Burek Recipe
I have made burek loads of times along with many of these other Croatian recipes. Although, I had never made burek from scratch as I was scared to try to make the phyllo dough.
I had always wondered how to make burek like a real Croatian while I was living in Australia. Burek is made here in Croatia and also in many other Balkan countries plus a bunch of other parts of the world in its various forms such as Greece, Turkey, and the Middle East.
Burek, also known as bourék, byurek, pita, bourekas and cheese pie can be formed into horseshoe shapes, coils, cylinders or round pies and are variously eaten as appetizers or as a main course. No matter what you call it (or despute where it comes from), Croatian Burek is WAY better than any Australian pie I have ever had.
Burek for those of you who do not know, is filo (phyllo) pastry filled with either cheese, meat, potato, spinach, apple…. in fact almost anything.
Burek is the food you eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner or just as a snack. It’s not exactly very healthy, but on the upside, if you eat a big slice of burek, it is sure to fill you.That way you can skip your next meal. I personally never skip meals as someone once told me that’s bad for you (that’s my story and I am sticking to it) so I always find room for the next meal. But that’s a good tip for those of you who can’t skip meals.
Please do not judge me, knowing I always used to purchase the store-bought phyllo pastry when I made burek. I know, I know, it’s terrible – but it is oh-so-easy. While my cheese burek turns our great thanks to some great tips that Mr. Chasing the Donkey’s Baba (Grandmother) shared with me, it’s not anything like the REAL thing I buy
every day as a hangover cure here in Croatia.
The thought of making the filo pastry from scratch always seemed so impossible. Many Croats kept telling me just how ‘teško’ (hard) it is to make – so, needless to say, I avoided even trying it. But then, I stumbled upon an easy peasy way to make the filo pastry.
Okay, it’s not as easy as unwrapping the store bought pastry, but he makes it look and sound so much better than that. As with all of the Croatian recipes I share, there are a gazillion ways to make the same thing, but this one to me is a standout!
And look, if the only difficulty you face is learning the technique of stretching and rolling the dough (or you are short on time), just buy the phyllo dough – no one will know.
What You Will Need To Make This Croatian Burek Recipe
What You Need For The Burek Dough:
- 500g plain flour
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 300-350mls lukewarm water
- Some Veggie Oil
What You Need For The Burek Cheese Filling:
- 150g cottage cheese
- 100g crumbled feta cheese
- 1 large beaten egg
What You Need For The Meat And Potato Filling:
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 medium, diced onion
- 300g lean beef mince
- 1 potato cut into small cubes and boiled
- 2 grated garlic cloves
- Half teaspoon of chopped rosemary, fresh is best
- Half tablespoon of smoke paprika,
- Half tablespoon of salt
How To Make Burek Dough:
- Take a large bowl and combine the flour and the salt
- Add the water bit by bit, mixing until the mixture forms a dough
- Knead the dough for around five minutes, until it turns quite stretchy
- Split the dough mixture into batches of four and press down to flatten
- You need to find a bowl or a pan which is large enough to hold the dough when it is piled up on top of each other
- Add a little bit of vegetable oil to the pan or bowl and put the first flattened piece of dough inside
- Add a bit more oil (not too much), and add another piece of dough – repeat until you’ve done the same with all four pieces
- Add more vegetable oil on top of the last piece and place to one side to rest
- Preheat your oven to around 200 degrees C
- Add a little vegetable oil over your work surface – just a little!
- Remove one piece of dough from the bowl and remove the excess oil
- Flatten the piece of dough until it reaches a thickness of no more than around half a centimeter
- Handle the dough and stretch it outwards, so that you pull it to around 1 meter in diameter – you might end up with a few holes but don’t worry about it too much. By the end, you should be able to see through the dough
- Take one side of the dough disc and fold it over, towards the center
- Repeat this process until you have a shape that resembles a pentagon
- Repeat with the second piece of dough
- Add your filling to the dough piece
- Add the first piece of stretched dough into the middle of the second one, and cut away the thick edge of the second piece – you can throw this away, you won’t need it
- Fold over the edges of the dough, so that you get a pentagon shape once more, and put it into a baking pan or tray
- Put the pan in the oven and bake for around half an hour, until it is a golden color
- Remove from the oven and let it cool down
- Cut into 12 pieces
- Repeat the process with the rest of the dough
For The Cheese Filling:
- Take a mixing bowl and add in both kinds of cheese, combining together
- Add the egg and combine once more
For The Meat & Potato Filling:
- Take a large pan and heat up the oil over a medium heat
- Add the onion and cook until soft
- Now, add the mince and cook for around 2 minutes, stirring regularly
- Now, add the potato, the rosemary, the garlic, and the paprika, and stir to combine
- Add the salt and continue to cook, ensuring the beef mince is cooked through
- Once cooked, drain the beef with a sieve to get rid of any excess oil and press down to dry it out
- Allow the burek to cool completely
Have you ever tried any another burek recipe? If you try this recipe, I’d love for you to share with us (inc. photos) in the comments below.
If You Want to Come to Croatia Here Are Ideas For Things To Do In Croatia to Get You Started
- A Massive List of Things to do in Croatia
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- Find out about Festivals in Croatia
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