Banitza – a Bulgarian classic

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When in Rome… and since I am in Sofia, Bulgaria, staying with my parents for a few weeks, I thought I would make one of the classics. Banitza (also known as bоrek in Turkish, and tiropita in Greek) is a phyllo dough pastry with eggs,  feta cheese and lots of butter.  It is one of the few dishes that small kids and adults delight in equally. When I was a school boy in Stara Zagora, we had a snack break after 3rd period, and I would always buy myself banitza which was wrapped in brown paper dripping with oil.  I would come back home with oil stains all over my shirt, and my mom would say “banitza again!”


serves: 8-12        difficulty: easy      prep time: 1.5 hrs


Ingredients

  • 9 eggs
  • 1 lbs feta cheese
  • 1 lbs cottage cheese (or in Bulgarian извара)
  • 1 package phyllo dough
  • 1/2 lbs yoghurt
  • 3 sticks of butter

Preparation

Crumble the feta cheese and mix it with the cottage cheese.

Crack 7 eggs and mix them well with the cheese.

Melt the butter in the microwave. Unroll the phyllo dough from the packet. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Take two sheets of phyllo, and brush butter all over the sheets.

Spread about 1/2 cup of the cheese- egg mixture over the phyllo sheets.

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Starting from the short side of the phyllo sheets, roll the sheets in roll.  Brush some butter on the bottom of your pan. Then arrange the phyllo roll in a spiral pattern.

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Keep repeating with two sheets pf phyllo, and arranging the rolls in a spiral. banitza-2430

Then brush butter liberally over the entire spiral of phyllo rolls.
Place in the oven and bake for about 30 min. until golden.

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While the banitza is baking, mix the yoghurt with the remaining two eggs. Take the banitza out of the oven, and smear the yoghurt-egg mixture over it.

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Put bak in the oven for another 10 min until the yorghut-egg crust bakes.

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Take the banitza out of the oven, and cover with a towel for about 10 min while it is cooling off. It is best served immediately.

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