Bosnian "pita" (pie) with cottage cheese, apple, and squash
Bosnian Pita Pie is made of handmade dough that is stretched into a paper-thin, translucent pastry, stuffed with various fillings and rolled a unique shape.This traditional pie takes about three to four hours to make. Dough can be frozen to save some time on future occasions, or kept in the fridge for up to a week. You could always use these fillings in store-bought phyllo dough and just use several layers of it, but if you want the real experience, take a few hours and make this dough. You won't regret it.
4-5sour applesshredded (use Granny Smiths, crab apples, or preferably apples from your own apple tree)
Bosnian Pita Dough:
4cupsof AP flourunbleached
1cupof AP flourreserved for dusting counters, etc
2cupswarm wateruse a mixture of boiling and cold water
To make butternut squash filling:
Mix squash, sugar and salt. If you want to add more salt, only do so at the last minute (otherwise, the squash will get soggy and bleed, making the dough too wet).
To make cottage cheese filling:
Mix cottage cheese, eggs, feta cheese and olive oil. Add salt at the last minute, to taste.
To make apple filling:
Mix cinnamon, brown sugar and walnuts in a separate bowl. Keep apart from shredded apples until the last minute (otherwise, the apples will get soggy and bleed, making the dough too wet).
To make dough:
Place 4 cups of flour in a large bowl. Add water gradually to it, until dough is soft but not sticky.
Flour work surface generously. Place dough on counter and knead down gently for about 10-15 minutes, until the dough is springy to the touch. Knead in soft motions, almost stroking the dough and transferring it from hand to hand. Do not be too violent.
Divide dough into 4 pieces. Flour surface lightly, and roll each piece into a ball, transferring from hand to hand gently. Then, adding a bit of flour as needed. roll out dough thinly with a rolling pin, like thin pizza dough.
Cover another area with clean kitchen towels, and arrange rolled out dough circles close to each other, edges touching. Drizzle a tiny bit of olive oil on each disc, and spread it out evenly across the surface with your hands. Cover the discs with plastic wrap, and let rest in a warm place for about 30 minutes. Afterwards, dough should be very elastic, like good pizza dough.
Cover a large dining room table with a clean tablecloth. Transfer one dough disc to the table, laying it in the middle. Start spreading the dough very gently, pinching the ends with your fingers (never touch or pull from the centre, only from the edges). Pull the ends towards you gently, going around the table clockwise (or counter-clockwise, just try to go in one direction all the time), spreading the dough into a very thin layer as much as you can. Continue expanding the dough by pulling on the edges gently until the paper-thin dough covers the whole table like a tablecloth, draping over the edges.
Fill the Bosnian pita
Preheat oven to 400F.
Start spreading filling onto the dough with a tablespoon, dropping dollops all over its surface, but leave one line, the width of about 3 inches, empty all across the middle (please see photos for this). Drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Fold the corners of the dough that are draping over the table, making the dough contained on top of the table.
Now, gently raise one edge of the tablecloth, allowing the dough to roll towards the empty part in the middle. Stop when the dough gets to that part. Repeat on the other side. You should now have two long snakes of dough and filling, with a thin layer of dough separating them. Cut that line in half with a sharp knife, separating your two snakes from each other.
Oil a casserole dish. Arrange the rolls in the dish, shaping them into spirals and tight coils, like tightly-wound snakes that are ready to pounce.
Repeat with three other dough discs. You can vary the fillings in each disc (which separates into two rolls), using half of one and half of the other in the same disc (because the coils will be separated from each other, it really doesn't matter).
Bake for 40 minutes at 400F, until pita is golden brown on top. Serve right away, or eat in room temperature for lunch the next day.