Also known as Borek this is thought to have originated in the Ottoman empire and originally had ground meat and potatoes mixed in. Today though it is mostly made with cheese. The Slavic and Balkan foodies like the Bulgarians, Bosnians, and Serbians will know what we’re talking about as will Turkish cooks and the Greeks would to, if we’d called them spanakopitas, added chopped spinach and made them in triangles.

Burek is a simple peasant food, something easy to make for a weekend lunch or dinner when you’ve got some salty cheese like feta,  maybe some ricotta as well, some eggs and cheddar cheese in the fridge and a packet of filo pastry (called Yufka dough in the Slavic culture).

It doesn’t get much simpler than this recipe to produce a lot of tasty food for very little cost and effort.

You simply heat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius then raid the fridge for all your left over cheese, a mix of soft salty and hard are good. Crumble and grate them into a bowl, add 2 or 3 eggs and beat together with a little pepper. A good mix includes some feta with ricotta or cream cheese or quark and a tasty grated cheddar. If you don’t have feta you might need to add salt to the mix and I add a dash of cream if I have it, although it’s not traditional.

Once that’s done, melt some butter add an equal quantity of olive oil and unroll a packet of filo and cut to fit your baking pan or smaller bakeware.

Then you just layer them together. Brush the pan with butter/oil, add 2 sheets of filo, brush with butter again, 2 more filo then cover with a thin layer of cheese mix. Just repeat this process until you use all the cheese mix and the pan/s are filled to the top. Sprinkle the top with white or black sesame seeds if you like.

Bake for 30-60 minutes until your Burek has ‘puffed up’ and turned golden. The cooking time will depend on the size of pan you use. Individual ones will take 30mins, a big baking dish up to an hour and the ‘puffing’ only happens towards the end of cooking.

You can also make a long curled up Burek ‘sausage’  if you prefer; a bit messier but just as tasty. Or make Burek cigars rolling and folding the filo in at the ends as if wrapping a spring roll. When cooked sprinkle with chopped parsley, dill or any soft green herbs and a little flaked salt.

Burek can be eaten hot or warm and is good with a fresh salad on the side or cold in your lunch box.

Tips and tricks: Cover your pile of cut filo sheets with wet paper towel so it doesn’t dry out and go brittle as you use it. If the top browns too quickly turn your oven down and rotate your dish half way through cooking , especially if your over is uneven at browning. Burek works just as well frozen, uncooked and then simply defrosted and cooked on the day you need it. Black sesame seeds are found in Asian grocers and are so cool!

Sesame Seeds : Read more about Sesame Seeds in our glossary here.

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Have you tried this recipe? We would love to hear your comments below…

 

One Response to Burek Cheese Pie

  1. Sheri says:

    This was absolutely delicious — didn’t change a thing! Thank you for a great recipe! :)

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