National Dish of Bulgaria – Banitsa
|Yogurt (Bulgarian sheep’s milk yogurt is best)||¾ lb|
|Phyllo dough||12 sheets|
|Sirene (Bulgarian feta cheese)||½ lb|
|Salt and Pepper|
Bulgarian banitsa is a pastry dish that is eaten for breakfast or as a savory snack. Although the dish is widely made throughout the year and sold at bakeries and snack shops, it is traditional to hide a coin in homemade banitsa at Christmas time as it is believed that whoever finds it when eating will have a prosperous year ahead.
Directions for Preparing Banitsa
- Crack four eggs (whites and yolks) into a medium-sized bowl.
- Add the yogurt to the eggs.
- Use a whisk to combine the eggs and yogurt together.
- Add the salt and pepper.
- Crumble the feta cheese and then add this to the bowl. Mix well.
- Divide into four portions and set aside.
- Melt the butter in the microwave.
- Brush melted butter on a sheet of phyllo dough.
- Lay another sheet of phyllo dough onto the buttered sheet. The sheets will stick together.
- Turn it over and apply melted butter to the dry side of the phyllo dough.
- Paste the phyllo sheet with a portion of the egg, cheese, and yogurt mixture that was previously set aside.
- Roll the sheet on its longest side to form a cylinder. Repeat this until you have four rolls of dough.
- Line a 10-inch spring form baking pan with parchment paper.
- Place one of the rolls of phyllo dough against the circular wall of the baking pan.
- Add another roll inside of this and keep going until the dough rolls reach the center of the pan. The completed arrangement should resemble the spiral pattern on a snail’s shell.
- Crack the last egg and separate the white from the yolk.
- Whisk the egg yolk with the remaining melted butter.
- Use this as a wash and brush on top of the entire banitsa.
- Bake at 400° F for 25 minutes or until it is golden brown.
- Slice and serve hot or cold.