Cheese burek

This wonderful Serbian speciality from Popina is easy to make and always impresses dinner guests
By Isidora Popovic
Cheese burek
  • Rating:
  • Serves: Makes 6 slices
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Effort: easy


  • 250 g cottage cheese
  • 60 g barrel-aged feta cheese, crumbled
  • 190 g reduced-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to brush
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 6 large sheets thick filo pastry, (47 x 32 cm, see Cooks note)

Tips and Suggestions

Use strong, barrel-aged feta cheese for the filling if you can get it.

The large sheets of filo pastry can be found in Middle Eastern shops or the freezer aisle of supermarkets. I just let it defrost for 1 hour before I start. If you cant find such large sheets, simply overlap your sheets to make the correct size and remember that youll need more to begin with.


1. Base-line a 20-cm spring form cake tin (7 cm deep), with greaseproof paper and set aside until needed.

2. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.

3. Put the cottage cheese, feta, yogurt, eggs, oil, bicarbonate of soda and 1 ½ teaspoons of salt in a mixing bowl and mix well.

4. Make sure you have plenty of space to work on. Take one filo sheet and lay it on the work surface. Lightly brush it all over with oil. Place a second filo sheet on top. Spoon one-third of the cheese mixture on to the filo and spread it evenly across the surface, leaving the very edges clear.

5. Fold over each short side by 2 cm. Do the same with a long side, then carry on rolling it downwards (not too tightly) until youve rolled all the filo and made a tube. Gently lift up the tube and curl around the inside edge of the cake tin. The filo tears easily so try to lift it gently, but dont worry too much if it tears a little.

6. Repeat this entire process with the remaining filo sheets, making 2 more tubes and fitting them end to end in the tin until you have a spiral. Brush the top with oil.

7. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes until deep golden and risen. Dont worry if parts of the pastry look a little burnt this tastes great! Remove from the oven and leave to cool for a few minutes. It freezes well defrost and warm up in the oven before serving.

From The Popina Book of Baking by Isidora Popovic, published by Ryland Peters & Small, photography by Peter Cassidy © Ryland Peters & Small

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