While we were in Dubrovnik we took a day trip to Mostar in Bosnia. The day started off rather wet as we waited for the tour bus to arrive. The drive to the border was pretty. Once we crossed over the border just a mere formality with a long line, we stopped at our first stop which had a beautiful mosque at the top of the hill. Well beautiful from the outside we did not make the trek up. The roofs on the houses here were completely different compares to Dubrovnik. We carried on to Mostar and did have a shock as we entered the city. It still had all the signs of being ravaged by war. There were a lot of destroyed buildings and quite a few with a lot of bullet holes. It was really sad. When we go to the destination which is the historic portion of Mostar we were given instructions to be very careful because of the pickpockets.
We had a very nice and informative guide. The old part of the city (the only part we saw) was very charming. We climbed to the top of the oldest mosque – that was quite a challenge as the stairwell was very narrow and fairly dark. From the top of the minaret was a fantastic view of the river and the famous Mostar bridge. At the end of the tour we asked our guide to recommend a local dish we could try and he pointed us to the very popular local food ‘Burek’. Its really a pastry filled with either cheese, spinach or beef, that is eaten with yoghurt. It was simply delicious. If I could describe it, it would be layers of filo pastry wrapped around the filling. It was simply delicious and was our cheapest meal of the trip.
You can fill your Burek with anything that you would like as long as the mixture is more on the dry side. You could even go for a sweet filling.
For the dough
- 2 eggs (reserve one egg yolk)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2/3 cup milk
- 1.5 tsp baking powder
- 3.5 cups flour
For the filling
- 1 large onion (diced)
- 1 frozen packet of cut leaf spinach
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tsp red chilli powder
- 1/2 tsp cumin powder
- salt to taste
- 3/4 packet of cream cheese
Whisk eggs (one full egg and one egg white), salt, olive oil and milk. Sift the baking powder and flour.
Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and knead until soft. If your mixture is dry add a little more milk a bit at a time. If it is too sticky add a little more flour a bit at a time. Your dough should be smooth and soft and should spring back when you do the thumb test (See notes)
Let the dough rest covered with a damp towel while you make the filling
Fry the onion until it becomes translucent. Add the remaining ingredients except the cream cheese and cook. Once the spinach is cooked add the cream cheese and take it off the heat. Stir to blend in the cream cheese.
Divide the dough into 6 equal portions.
Take one portion and roll it into a long log at least 14 inches in length.
Use a rolling ping to flatten it out along the length. Then use a rolling pin to widen it along its width. You want it to be at least 3 inches wide. It can be as thin as you can get it. I do this on a (Clean) countertop. It does not stick because of the olive oil in the dough.
Lightly brush the top of the rolled pastry with either melted butter or olive oil. (This is optional but will give you better layers)
Put a thin strip of filling on the section that is closer to you just a little bit away from the end. Then lift the dough and cover the filling bit by bit along the length. Tightening the roll as you go. Repeat the procedure until you have a filled log.
Next, You are going to make a spiral, starting at one end and rolling the log around itself. Make sure you have the top of the Burek at the same level. Brush the top with egg white and place on your foil lined baking sheet.
Bake for 350 for 30-35 mins or until the tops are golden brown. Serve hot with a side of yoghurt.
- onion, sweet potato, spinach, spices of your choice
- cooked spiced minced chicken