Probably Ottoman in origin – and similar to the various borek (stuffed pastries) enjoyed by the Turkish – burek is quite specifically a Bosnian pastry of homemade filo type, stretched as thin as paper, stuffed with a spiced beef filling and coiled up like a snake. The pastry takes a bit of courage: it will almost certainly be the thinnest dough you ever work with, but the trick is to go slowly when stretching so that it thins out without too many holes appearing.
Add the oil to a deep frying pan set over a high heat. When the oil is hot, tip in the mince, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as it heats. Stir fry for a good 10–15 minutes until it’s brown and crisp in places. This caramelisation adds loads of flavour, so I prefer to brown my mince before adding any onion. Reduce the heat to low and add the onion, frying for another 10 minutes to soften slightly. Add the garlic, paprika and allspice and fry briefly – for another minute or two – before pouring in the stock. Season with salt and pepper and bring to the boil. Cook for about 40 minutes, uncovered, stirring from time to time as it reduces. You want a rich mince sauce that’s not too wet, otherwise it will make your pastry soggy.
Turn off the heat, stir through the parsley, then scoop the filling into a bowl and set aside until completely cold. You can make the filling well ahead of time (up to 3 days) and chill in the fridge.
For the pastry, simply mix the flour and salt together in a bowl and gradually pour in 300ml cold water, stirring to bring it together into a ball. Tip on to a lightly floured worktop and knead for a few minutes until smooth. Cover with cling film and leave to rest for 30 minutes.
Clear your worktop or kitchen table – you will need a big space as the dough will be rolled to a circle of around 55–60cm. Spread a thin layer of oil on the surface and over a rolling pin and begin to roll out the dough, turning it regularly to keep the shape as circular as possible. Use plenty of oil to make sure it doesn’t stick. Once it’s as thin as you can roll it, switch to your hands, coating them with a little oil first. You want to slowly and gently stretch the dough as thin as you possibly can: it will become pretty much see-through in places. If little holes or tears appear, push the edges back together.
Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C Fan/Gas Mark 7. Once you have your large circle of dough, take the cold filling and spread some of it little by little into a large 1cm-thick ring about 3cm from the outer edge of the pastry. When you have a complete circle of meat, fold up the edge of the pastry to enclose the meat. Then continue to roll over so you are wrapping the meat in several layers of pastry, working bit by bit all the way round. Once you have rolled the meat in about three layers of pastry, take a small knife and cut through all the way round so you have a long circular sausage shape. Make a cut through the pastry to break the circle into one long sausage shape, then slide one end carefully on to a baking tray and coil it around and around in a spiral.
Go back to the remaining pastry, which will now be a smaller circle, and repeat the process once more. Trim away the centre of the circle and discard, then coil this sausage around the other on the baking tray. Sprinkle over a few flakes of sea salt and slide into the hot oven. Bake for about 45–50 minutes until golden brown and crisp. Serve hot or at room temperature, cut into wedges, with a traditional dollop of plain yogurt.