Culinary Adventures in Kosovo IV

After our seaside adventure and the best meal of my life, we arrived back in Gjakova, safe and sound.

Lindi’s parents house is a dream. They have a large garden, three kitchens, and lots of fun culinary devices. Ok, so maybe not everyone’s dream, but definitely mine!

To my utter delight, it happened to be pite making day (pite is the Albanian word for pie).  Some of you might be more familiar with the word Byrek to describe this savory pie that may be filled with either cheese, spinach, or meat. No matter what it’s filled with, it always has a browned flaky crust that melts in your mouth. I had been telling Lindi for months that I wanted to learn how to make pite, and now I was getting my chance!

Unfortunately,  I know that I would never be able to accurately reproduce the pite Lindi’s mom makes; I simply don’t  have the correct hardware. Check this oven out:

It’s a little electric oven that is about 2 feet in diameter. Everything is cooked in there from Byrek to Baklava and everything in between. It browns everything perfectly and you can make industrial sizes of any dish. Perfect for a large family. If  you don’t know what to get me for Christmas, I wouldn’t mind one of these guys ; )

With that being said, the recipe I was given was large enough to make TWO pies that fit in that oven. If the diameter for that oven was indeed two feet, and I remember my geometry correctly, the recipe makes enough pie to feed an army. So, I’m going to give pite making a try this weekend in my own kitchen, figure out a more American oven-friendly ratio, and post my findings as a recipe that you can follow. Until then, I’ll leave you with a photo essay of the process of making pite…so put on your apron!

-Kat

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4 responses to “Culinary Adventures in Kosovo IV

  1. Boy, does that look delicious! I hope you can devise a recipe for the average American kitchen. Keep cooking and posting!

  2. I was shown how to make pite by an old boyfriend’s sister and I’m trying to figure out the recipe for it that I have. She even gave me the pide pan to make it in, since you can’t find them in the US. Her recipe too can feed an army, but what concerns me most is the amount of water, which seems WAY out of proportion. Mind you, there was a little bit of a language barrier, so that could account for the problem. Here’s my recipe. Perhaps you could comment on the water and suggest a correction?

    Pita with Leeks or with Greek Cheese
    Pite me purri

    For 2 pites

    2 Leeks, chopped
    300 g. soft Greek cheese.
    1 egg
    Italian parsley
    1 Kg Flour (8 cups)
    1 big hand full salt
    Pepper to taste
    500 cl. hot water (21 cups—this can’t be right–is it ml?)
    Sunflower oil
    Plain yogurt
    Cream

    For a leek filling:

    Sauté leeks in sunflower oil until soft. Season with salt and pepper, parsley.

    After the dough is ready, add some yogurt to the leeks.

    For a cheese filling:

    Mix the Greek cheese and the egg together well. Season with parsley. Add some cream to the mix.

    For the dough:

    Pour the flour in a big bowl. Then pour the water in the middle with a little sunflower oil. Mix with the flour slowly from the inside working your way to the outside. When done, let the dough sit 10 minutes. It will get warm. Kneed the dough a bit more—it shouldn’t be wet inside.
    Preheat the oven to 250 C.

    Cut and roll little balls of dough from the mass, 30-32. Split in two rows of 15-16. Let sit circa 5 min. Then roll the balls out into small flat pancakes. Next heat some sunflower oil in a small sauce pan. Place two pancakes next to each other in the middle of the pita pan and brush with oil. Layer the pancakes on top of each other, brushing each layer with oil, making two piles. Do not oil top layer. Place the two piles on the floured table upside down. Sprinkle with flour on top. Roll out to fit pita pan. Add a little sunflower oil to the top. Put the first layer down in the pita pan. Add leek and yogurt mixture. Place second layer on top. Cut like a pizza. Pour cream on top.

  3. You broke the Albanian tradition! You cannot reveal the secrets to good burek! 🙂

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