Phyllo Meat Pie – Burek
When it comes to any type of pie, you all can kinda guess that I go nuts. When you place a scrumptious, mouthwatering platter of pie in front of me, now jaw opened mouth, I’d dig right in, it’s just as simple as, well… Pie. Now, this is not your typical pie, but when you translate “pita” – pie is the word that pops up! So we can officially call it a pie! See, some part of the country would actually call it a pita, and some burek. But I’ll say, call it whatever you want, it is still delicious.
Some of you are probably familiar with “Burek” or Börek, with many similar names across Europe, especially Balkan Peninsula -Southeast Europe. Burek is a baked filled pastry made of a thin, flaky dough known as phyllo (or yufka – not Markook/Shrak, a flatbread), which found in the cuisines of the former Ottoman Empire. A börek may be prepared in a large pan and cut into portions after baking, or as individual pastries.
Not only did I grew up watching women make Burek with homemade dough, but I was eating it almost every day during my high school years. I have pretty fond memories of my school days. I had to travel quite a bit to get to my school, about 2 hours on a good day; going from the bus, then jumping into a few different trolleys, which was pretty exhausting for 13/14 year old, but the time runs fast if you stumble across a friend. Getting up very early and eating breakfast was not an option because I could not eat at that hour, even if you try to pay me to do it. Anyhow, about half of the mile from my school there was a bakery on the corner of the street. Oh, I think I can smell it instantly just by remembering the freshly baked bread at 6 or 7 am, sweet pastries, pies, and different types of Burek; cheese Burek, meat, spinach etc. The whole street would have a pleasant aroma of that bakery that just draws you in to get your breakfast, hot and freshly made. Nothing beats that, seriously!
Many women, from Balkan Peninsula, can make dough from scratch, me, well not really. To tell you honestly, I can’t make that dough even if you install a “how to” video in my head. God knows, I tried, but no luck whatsoever. So, I gave up, yup! I gave up and enjoyed a stress-free Burek made with Filo dough.
It is simple as it looks, so let’s do it!
Phyllo Meat Pie – Burek
- 1 pack Phyllo dough (Filo)
- Oil -to brush the dough
- 1 tbsp. Oil
- 1/2 onion, sliced or shredded
- 2 lbs. (1kg.) Ground Beef
- 1 1/2 tsp. Beef Bouillon Powder (or to taste)
- 1/2 tsp. Ground black pepper
- A pinch of Kosher salt
- A pinch of chili flakes *optional
- Preheat the oil, and drop sliced or shredded onion in the pan. Saute for 5 minutes -if you slice the onion, it will take more time to cook.
- Add ground beef and the rest of the ingredients for the filling. Mix, and try to break ground beef into small chunks. Cook until meat is no longer red (bloody), and it looks cooked completely. Take out the oil -I usually place a lid over it and drain as much grease as I can, or you can spoon it out. Set aside and start with the next step.
- Open up the box of filo dough. If you are going to use for fewer people use fewer sheets. I always use two (2) Phyllo sheets at the time.
- Grease the baking pan with oil, and preheat oven to 375F (190C)
- Place two sheets on a clean and dry countertop (you can use a wooden cutting board and similar. Make sure to cover the rest of the phyllo sheets with the clean kitchen towel to prevent from drying.)
- Using a slotted spoon, spoon in sauteed seasoned ground beef and put in the middle of the phyllo sheet. Fold both ends in, and roll the sheet away from you to the other side, grabbing at the same time filling. Make sure that the ends are in while you are rolling from the outside in. Roll it until you reach the end. It does not have to be tight, and your hands have to be dry because the thin dough is easily breakable.
- You can make it into a circle, just by adding more rolls around until you reached the center of the pan or you can use a rectangular / square baking pan and make them into long individual strips/rolls. Continue until baking pan is filled with rolls. After the first time, you will see which way is working best for you.
- Brush the dough with the oil and bake for about 20 minutes, OR until the dough is golden. Before taking it out, 3-4 minutes: Mix water with few drizzles of oil, and you can either dip your fingers and flick some water on the Burek (Causing the water to fly on the crunchy dough), or use the brush and brush a little on top of the Burek. Bake a few more minutes.
- Cover the a pie with the clean kitchen towel for at least 5 minutes and serve it with buttermilk, yogurt, or sour cream, because it is the best with those kinds of dairy.
Technically speaking, if you’re following “serving size” rules, 4 people could eat comfortably, especially if you serve it with salad, but that never happens in my world, so it is really for 2 adults. 🙂