A strong breakfast can set the tone for the rest of your day, and while there’s nothing wrong with a good old plate of ham and eggs, we prefer a warm slice of burek instead!
Now, you might be wondering what kind of Balkan culinary masterpiece burek is? We’ll get to that a little bit later, but for now, all you need to know is that no matter what time of day it is, there’s always room for burek. Seriously, whether you’re eating it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or when you’re trying to sober up after you’ve had one too many, burek will jump-start your body and give you all the energy you need. Bonus points for tasting delicious!
Now that we’ve got your attention, let’s find out more about this tasty pastry — where does it come from, and how can you make it at your own home.
What Is Burek?
Hailing from kitchens across the Ottoman Empire, burek was a popular dish back in the era of Sultans. It is widely recognized as being an authentic creation of Turkish cuisine, but some argue that burek is as old as time, claiming that it was first conceived in the ancient Mediterranean empires.
Nobody can tell you with certainty the exact origins of burek, but what they will tell you is that it’s never served without a cup of yogurt. There’s nothing sweeter than grabbing a bite of warm, crunchy burek, and then washing it down with cold yogurt. This combination goes together like peanut butter and jelly, so if you’re ever ordering burek, don’t be surprised if you’re offered yogurt by default.
So, what exactly is it? Burek is a pastry made out of phyllo dough that has previously been tossed, shaped, and filled. Conservative connoisseurs will tell you that the only real burek is filled with ground beef, but you’ll find that there are many variants of this delicious piece of heaven.
Aside from meat-filled burek, common variants include cheese, spinach, or a mix of both. There are also some newer versions that are pizza-flavored or even filled with sweet cream and served as a dessert. As long as it tastes good, we’re open to trying any kind of burek.
Best Homemade Burek Recipe
If you’re looking to make this Balkan delicacy by yourself, here’s what you’ll need:
- 1 finely chopped onion
- 250 grams or 1/2 pounds of ground beef
- 70 ml or 5 tablespoons of vegetable or sunflower oil
- 1 pound of phyllo dough
- Chopped fresh parsley
- Salt, pepper
Set your stove to medium heat and start sauteing the finely chopped onion together with the ground beef, until the meat is browned. Add salt, pepper, and chopped parsley to taste. Continue stirring the mixture for a minute or two, and remove from heat.
Take your phyllo dough sheets and place them in a round pan that you’ve previously coated with oil. Now, the way you place them is the most crucial part. You want to separate your dough in such a way that you have enough sheets to put on the bottom and on the top of your burek.
Brush each rectangle shaped sheet with oil while folding the overhanging edges towards the center of the pan. Once you’ve finished with the bottom, cover it with the previously cooked beef mixture. Continue placing oiled-up sheets of dough on top of the mixture in the same manner you did the bottom.
Heat oven to 200°C / 392 F and bake for about 30 to 40 minutes, or until the crust turns to a golden brown color.