International Blog of Food

Glorious Cuisine From Around the World

Monday, December 18, 2006
Pita or Burek
Anyone who grew up in the Balkans knows full well what Pita and Burek is. As a kid we were told to finish our pita rather than finish your spinach, so it is a staple through and through. Pita as I am used to calling it, is made by rolling out dough and then filing it with different ingredients such as meat, cheese, potato, spinach, cabbage, pumpkin in the summer, and even apple as a dessert dish. The dough is rolled from both sides of the circle, cut so that it is long enough to fit in a ban, and then baked. Often it is finished off by pouring a salt, water and oil mixture just to soften it up a little. The most famous of the bunch is Burek which is the meat filled one.

There are different variations of how Pita is made depending on which area you come from. For instance where I was born, in Bosnia, the pita is usually rolled. Other areas may use puff pastry and "stack" the dough with ingredients in between. There may also be variations in the consistency of the dough. My mom makes the best pita that I have ever tasted and believe me many women have tried to outdo her, but her's still stands as the champion of Pita's. She has been begging me since I was 16 to learn how to make Pita but I always said that I would learn when I needed to. You don't make a good Croatian wife until you know how to make Pita. Well before I left for my internship, I realized now was as good a time as ever, in fact I wish that I would have taken her up on the offer earlier because I soon realized that it not as easy as it looks.Before it is baked, this one is made of spinach

Much of the skill lies in being able to make the right consistency of dough so that it does not break when you stretch it out into a big circle. I made the dough on my own so of course it was popping all over the place. Luckily you can patch it up but it is a beautiful sight to see the whole "jufka" or dough ball all stretched out without any battle scars. I made burek and krompiraca or potato pita. Despite my first shot at it, they were delicious. If there is one thing I miss from home, this is the food that kept me going. All is not lost though as I am going to Bosnia on Saturday and I have instructed my aunt to prepare some Pita that I can eat as soon as I can get there. I'm sure her's will look more appealing.
posted by Blanka at 1:05 AM


Blogger kent said...

They make a variety of that's called fatira.

I bet it's way better in the Balkans, though. They just don't have good enough ingredients down here. With exception to sweet fatira, of course. What a heavenly piece of dough, icing sugar, raisans, coconut, and walnuts that is. Mmmm....

3:12 AM  
Blogger Miss Canthus said...

I remember having borek (with two dots over the "o") in Turkey. YUMM! Your story brought back great memories.

Next time I am in Calgary, is there any chance I could get a sample? And a lesson?

I had better go and eat breakfast. Then maybe I will stop drooling.

9:36 AM  

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