Recently I have become a fiend, a borek fiend. Hey, don’t judge, its not hard to do, especially when your travelling through the Balkans and every corner you turn a borek is waiting patiently to be devoured. Once you’ve tasted the delicious filled pastry, its hard not to think about getting your next fix or planning your whole day around indulging is as much borek as possible.
I first discovered borek in Sarajevo, Bosnia. The snail shaped spinach and cheese filled pastry was addictive, even on a hot summer’s day. The obsession grew throughout Turkey and into Greece and more recently we’ve borek-ed our way through Bulgaria and Slovenia.
Borek (or böregi, byrek, burek, banitsa, pita or boureki depending on which country you are in) is made from thin layers of flaky dough known as yufka, most often filled with sirene or feta cheese. The outside is crispy and the inside ouzes soggy goodness from the combination of dough , cheese, egg, oil, salt and pepper. They are commonly eaten with a yogurt drink or plain yogurt (one of our favourite ways to eat them). As well as the more common cheese fillings, each country and region then has their own specialities of cheese, spinach, onion, potato or meat fillings. Sweet borek are often made with stewed fruit or pumpkin filling.
Thought to have been invented in the Anatolian Provinces of the Ottoman Empire, borek is a very popular in cuisines of the former Ottoman Empire, especially throughout the Balkans and across territories of former Yugolslavia. It is a a staple at most bakeries and regularly eaten as fast food.
During our trip to Slovenia, we admit, we may have gone a bit overboard in terms of the consumptions of borek, knowing that we most likely won’t be back in Europe for awhile and our next stop is Asia. Well, coincidently we got off the train in Munich, walked about 100m and yep you betcha pracitically tripped over a stand selling borek. Yhay!