Banitsa (Bulgarian: Баница, also transliterated as banica and banitza) is a traditional Bulgarian pastry prepared by layering a mixture of whisked eggs, butter and pieces of sirene- (feta cheese) between filo pastry and then baking it in oven.
Traditionally, lucky charms are put into the pastry on certain occasions, particularly on Christmas Eve, the first day of Christmas, or New Year's Eve. These charms may be coins or small symbolic objects (e.g., a small piece of a dogwood branch with a bud, symbolizing good health and long life). Wishes may include happiness, health, or success throughout the New Year.
Banitsa is served for breakfast and/or main course along with plain yogurt, ayran, or boza. It can be eaten hot or cold. Some varieties include banitsa with spinach (spanachena banitsa) or the sweet version, banitsa with milk (mlechna banitsa), banitsa with ground meat or banitsa with pumpkin (tikvenik ) Please, see Tikvenik !
450 g phillo pastry
240 g Feta cheese (preferably Bulgarian Feta), crumbled
250 ml carbonated water or lemonade (ginger ale will do the work as well).
1. Melt the butter.
2. Use a bowl to mix the crumbled Feta cheese and 3 eggs.
3. In oiled baking dish lay 2 -3 sheets of phillo pastry. It should take approximately 5-6 layers of phillo for the whole banitsa. Sprinkle with the mixture of cheese and eggs, about 1/6 of the full amount and 3 tablespoons of melted butter, then again 2-3 sheets of phillo pastry, eggs and cheese mixture and butter. Keep repeating until all eggs and cheese mixture is spent. Top up with layers of phillo.
4. Cut the uncooked banitsa in squares. Pour the remaining butter over evenly.
5. In a separate bowl whisk the other 3 eggs and add soda water. Pour this mixture over the banitsa.
6. Bake in moderate oven /230°C about 20-30 minutes. The result should be fluffy, multilayered goodness of cheese, eggs, butter, thin pastries, and golden brown crispy crust.
banitza with home made phillo pastry
about phillo pastry: