Dea's spinach and feta burek

It was cosy in the oven for these cheesy fillings swaddled with pastry. Photography by Alexander Wenk.

It was cosy in the oven for these cheesy fillings swaddled with pastry. Photography by Alexander Wenk.

WHERE DOES IT COME FROM?

Burek is a baked and stuffed flaky pastry. It’s a popular Mediterranean dish, but which country owns it can be a controversial question. However, since it originates from the time of the Ottoman Empire it’s older than the borders that divide it.

Different countries have their own take on burek. Bosnians think burek must be filled with meat and similar variations are called pita. In other places like Turkey and Albania, pastry filled with pumpkins or cheese can win the name.

Burek is a popular breakfast choice in Albania. Dea Manaj recommends it in the morning with a savoury yoghurt drink called dhalle.

ingredients (makes 12)

12 filo pastry sheets

350g spinach leaves

1 pound feta cheese

2 large eggs, beaten

4-5 springs of fresh dill, finely chopped

50g butter, melted

HOW TO MAKE IT?

  1. Take the pastry sheets out of the fridge and leave them on the side for 15 minutes until room temperature.

  2. Preheat the oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5 and lightly grease a baking sheet.

  3. Roughly chop the spinach and cook for 2-3 minutes until all the water has evaporated.

  4. With a fork, crumble up the feta cheese.

  5. Whisk in the two eggs.

  6. Add the spinach and dill to the mixture.

  7. Fold each pastry sheet in two to make rectangles and brush with the melted butter.

  8. Add one or two tablespoons of the cheese mixture to the centre of each rectangle.

  9. Roll up the pastry with the mixture inside and seal the edges with a little water.

  10. Place on a baking sheet, brush with more butter and cook for 25–30 minutes or until golden brown.

With their cheesy filling and moreish pastry, burek are a popular dish all across the Mediterranean. Photography by Alexander Wenk.

With their cheesy filling and moreish pastry, burek are a popular dish all across the Mediterranean. Photography by Alexander Wenk.

Melting Pot teamComment