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A broomstick and dough: Making Bosnian pita is a family tradition

Food » A mother’s hands work the dough with a long broomstick handle, a skill that’s becoming a lost art.

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Unless your mother comes to visit.


At a glance

Burek — Bosnian meat pita


4 cups of all-purpose flour, divided

1/2 teaspoon salt

2⁄3 cup (about) very hot water

1 teaspoon white vinegar

1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped

1 pound ground beef

1 teaspoon allspice

2 teaspoons Hungarian paprika

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

3/4 cup olive oil

For the phyllo, place 3 cups of flour in a large bowl (the remaining cup will be used when rolling out the dough). Make a well in the center and add 1/2 cup water and the vinegar. Combine with a fork. Add olive oil and continue mixing, adding more water if needed to make a soft dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead by hand, oiling hands if needed, until the dough is soft, malleable, and smooth, 10-15 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the filling. Heat a large frying pan and add the oil. Saute the onion until soft, and then add the ground beef, allspice, paprika, salt, and pepper to taste. Cook until the meat is crumbly but not dry. Cool completely.

Heat oven to 450 degrees.

Remove the rested dough to a lightly floured work surface and roll out into a large rectangle. Place floured fists underneath the dough and gently pull sections of the dough out until it is very thin. Take care not to tear holes in the dough. If you do, pinch them together. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes or so to dry out a little.

Brush the pastry dough all over with melted butter or olive oil. Place a row of the meat filling along the longer edge of the rolled out pastry dough, leaving a 1-inch border. Bring the bottom of the pastry up over the meat filling and roll it up into a long sausage-shaped roll.

Grease a rectangular shaped baking pan. Cut into equal-sized strips and placed side-by-side in prepared baking pan.

(For a spiral shaped pita, grease a large round baking pan. Lay one end of the roll in the middle of the prepared pan. Carefully wrap the remainder of the pastry roll around itself to form a snail-shaped pie in the middle of the baking pan.)

Brush the top of the pastry with melted butter or olive oil. Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue to cook for another 20 to 30 minutes, or until cooked through and golden-brown. Remove from oven and cool slightly. Cut into pieces and serve. Good warm or cold.

Servings » 8-10 as appetizer.

Source: Adapted from The Great Family Cookbook Project and about.com

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