Thursday, 26 September 2013

A September Day

To love beauty is to see light. - Victor Hugo

Here is our world today...

The end!

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Cheese Pita (Burek) and a Changing Landscape

Autumn, the year's last, loveliest smile. - William Cullen Bryant

The days of summer have passed and the landscape around my house has already dressed in it's new fall colours.  My littlest son has taken his snow board out of storage, and placed it at the foot of his bed...because he claims he smells winter in the air, our pear tree is brimming over with fresh fruit, we are picking fresh pumpkins from our garden and putting on our warm sweaters.
Of all the seasons, fall is one of my favourites... 
Somehow when the days begin to get cooler, I love to cook again.  And of course, warm comfort foods, hot from the oven, top my list
The first time I met my husband's family, Cheese Pita was served...and from that day, Cheese Pita remains one of my favourite Serbian dishes...and favourite comfort foods, too (I do think butter and salt are good for the soul...even if they are not so good for your heart).  Consequently, every time I was ever invited over, someone was sure to make it for me. Chuckling my husband's aunt would say, "Oh! it is so easy to make...anyone can make it." And for the longest time, I did not believe her.  But the truth is...Cheese Pita...or Burek (as it is officially called) is a very easy dish to make.  It is usually served as a side dish with a meal....but it is also sometimes served as the main dish.  In Fall, it makes a nice quick dinner served with a hot soup.
Here is my husband's Aunt's recipe for Serbian Burek....Cheese Pita....
I hope it becomes one of your favourites ...(even my little children love this one, too!)

Cheese Pita (or Burek)
makes one large 9x13 thick pie (or one large 11x15 thin pie)
preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit

1 large container of cottage cheese (750 grams)
1 package pressed unsalted cottage cheese (500 grams)*
8 eggs
1-2 teaspoons salt 
1 package phyllo pastry
1/4 - 1/2 cup of melted butter (for drizzling/brushing onto the phyllo pastry)

1.  Mix first four ingredients in a bowl.

2.  Lightly grease the bottom of a baking pan.  (I used a 11x15x2 pan...but a 9x13x2 pan could also be a thicker pie).
3.Carefully place on sheet of phyllo, fold if necessary, into the bottom of the pan. Drizzle with butter.
Repeat four more times....line with phyllo and then drizzling each new sheet with butter.  This will form the bottom of the it should not be too thin.

4. Next, gently spread an even layer of the cheese filling on top of the buttered phyllo sheets.

5. Gently cover the cheese layer with a sheet of phyllo pastry.  Drizzle with butter.  Then again, one more phyllo sheet and drizzle again with butter. (having a total of two-three sheets of phyllo on top of the cheese layer)

6.  Continue alternating between cheese filling and pastry layers until all the filling has been used. Then top off the pie with three consecutive layers of phyllo, all brushed with butter to make a thicker top.
7.  Score the top layers into the desired serving size pieces. (Crisp phyllo is hard to cut...this step just makes for nicer presentation)

8. Bake in a 375 degree Fahrenheit oven for about 45 minutes...or until the top is a golden brown.

9. Serve warm.  Enjoy!

*if you can not find pressed cottage cheese (which is usually found in the same area of the grocery store as regular cottage can use feta cheese...but just be sure to decrease the amount of salt)

The End!