Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Prazan Burek: Attempt One

I have recently been faced with a unique challenge: bake a foreign pastry for which I have no recipe and have never tasted. Burek comes in many varieties with a plethora of fillings, flavors, and techniques (plain, meat, cheese, layered, rolled). My goal is to make an acceptable Serbian burek; for my first real attempt, I chose prazan burek, or empty burek.

After trying (and failing) to find an acceptable recipe written in English, I decided to wing it and make my own. Here’s a video of the pro’s…

I made a basic homemade filo with

4c AP Flour
1c warm water
1.5tsp salt
1.5 c Butter (melted)

In order to make transparently-thin layers of dough, the dough has to be continually worked and stretched to form gluten. Mix all of the ingredients except the butter and knead.

While you get an extensive hand workout, melt the butter.

Knead in about 4 tablespoons of butter.

This whole process took a Really Long Time. I set up shop on my porch and listened to an audiobook for entertainment :)

Work the oiled dough into balls (I believe I ended up using 12?) and let the dough rest.

Brush the dough with more butter...

I couldn't photograph the next part- I was covered in flour and oil- but you can get the general idea from the video above :)

Make sure the work surface is well buttered and brush each layer with more butter throughout the process. (Don't be stingy with the butter- it is necessary! I only used about 1.5 of the 3 sticks, and the result was too dry)
How does it look?
Ah, I have never been so proud of transparency!

While this wasn't quite what I would imagine to find in Serbia, it was a tasty first attempt! We ate it in thick slices with kefir.

Excited for attempt two! I plan to use more liquid (my first burek was somewhat dry) and change the time in the oven. Doviđenja! :)

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