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Recipe  •  1 April 2024



Learn how to perfect a delicious burek. You can swap out the minced meat for any other ingredients!

I won't give you all the keys to my pastry castle but by using shop-bought filo (phyllo) pastry, you'll be armed with the ingredient to make a savoury pie that comes pretty damn close to Macedonian burek (pronounced "boorek"). If you have a Mediterranean or Middle Eastern shop near you then try out a bottle of Aryan drinking yogurt with this, taking sips between every bite, or just revel in the beauty of burek any time of day.

You can swap out the minced meat for pretty much any filling you fancy; just avoid anything that's too wet or the pastry will become soggy. I use a 23cm (9in) round cake tin for my burek but you can use any size or shape you have to hand; just bear in mind that the thinner the tin, the less cooking the burek will need.

Serves: 4


  • 200ml (7fl oz) vegetable oil, plus extra for frying and greasing
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 500g (1lb 2oz) beef mince (ground beef), at least 20% fat
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp salt
  • Cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 4 eggs
  • 500g (1lb 2oz) filo (phyllo) pastry
  • Sparkling water, for sprinkling


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan/350° F/Gas 4). To make the filling, heat a little oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and cook the onion for 5 minutes or until soft. Add the beef, garlic, and 1 tsp of the salt and break up the meat so there are no large clumps. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the beef is browned and cooked through. Season with black pepper and set aside to cool. You don't want the mince to dry out too much, as the fat is going to be super delicious when it sinks into the pastry.

  2. Whisk the eggs and measured oil together with the remaining teaspoon of salt. Remove the filo from the packaging and lay onto a chopping board or clean worksurface. Cover with a damp tea towel so it doesn't dry out too much.

  3. Lay a sheet of filo into a well-oiled 30cm (12in) round cake tin - any filo that doesn't fit in the tin can be scrunched-up around the edges to form a crust. Brush with some of the egg and oil mixture. Repeat with a further 3 filo sheets to create the base for the pie.

  4. Spoon some of the filling into the tin and spread it evenly over the pastry. Carefully scrunch up 2 sheets of pastry a little to create layers and arrange in the tin. Brush the pastry with the egg and oil mixture and sprinkle with a little sparkling water. Repeat until you have 4 sheets of pastry left.

  5. Layer the final 4 sheets of pastry into the tin, brushing each with the egg and oil mixture, to create a crust.

  6. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until deep, golden brown. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before slicing. Burek freezes really well - just defrost and reheat in the oven before serving.

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Join Spasia Dinkovski on an evocative journey across North Macedonia
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