With the in-laws here (and eating more Albanian pies then normal!) I have been learning about the different types of pie in our hometown in Albania.
Here, in England a pie is a deep filled pastry serving filled with meats and potatoes. But, Albanian pies are different as there are many different types, all very different from what I grew up on.
The first type of Albanian pie is Lakror which tends to be more of a batter then a pastry. Flour, eggs and water to form a thin batter with a filling in the middle. Pras Lakror (Leek Pie) is popular (and cheap) but more then ever I love Kungull Lakror as these pies have a natural sweetness.
Kungull is name of the pumpkin family and there are different types that you can have. We have two main ones in our village that we eat (and I love making all the time here). Kungull i vogel Lakror which translates roughly to courgette pie. Then, more common in the summer is Kungull i madh Lakror which is Squash / Pumkin pie.
The next type of Albanian pie is Pite, again many different types with the most common being Spinaq Pite (Spinach Pie). There are different meat ones such as byrek me mish pule (Chicken Pie), byrek me mish lope (Meat Pie) and so on.
Pite, is a pie made up of filo pastry and the pastry is homemade. The texture is more flakey with layers of filo below and above the filling. Once cooked, water is poured over and left to soak in before slicing and serving.
And the last type of Albanian pie is Byrek (which is also Borek and Burek) although in parts of Albania Pite and Byrek are in fact the same thing. We use Byrek mainly as small versions of Pite, as both use the same filo pastry method but folded / shaped differently.
Most common Byrek is Byrek me Spinaq (Spinach Pies), Djathë Byrek (Cheese Pies), Byrek me mish (Meat Pies) and Byrek me Kos (Yogurt filled Pies). You can also get a mix too, for example spinach and cheese.
I love learning new things when it comes to cooking Albanian food, and finally I now understand how it works when it comes to pies (well for our village anyway) as tackling all the different pronunciations from around the country will be quite a challenge.
Next time you are making pie, remember not all pies are deep filled with thick pastry and a gooey gravy base – although I still love my good old English steak and ale pies!
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