Recipes: B like Bulgarian banitsa

Recipes: B like Bulgarian banitsa

By Rositsa Dorovska

Bulgarian cuisine has many signature meals. Most of them are typical for the whole Balkan region with local variations and specifics. When you have to opt for one speciality only, that should be the famous pastry – banitsa. Banitsa cannot be translated from Bulgarian, but it’s similar to the Turkish burek, another untranslatable delicacy. Thought, they both cannot be mistaken for each other.
In brief, Banitsa is a dough pie, stuffed with an egg and cheese mixture. It‘s a kind of symbol for Bulgaria from centuries. In the past, banitsa used to be completely homemade. From the dough, rolled manually by the hands of our grandmothers, through the eggs from homegrown chickens, with fresh homemade yoghurt and cheese.  Finally, the dish would be baked not in a modern oven, but in a furnace.
Nowadays it’s a rarity to find such banitsa makers, but the importance of the dish remains. Banitsa is food for sharing, with a special place on each table with or without occasion. Only during the fasts, some people avoid it, because of the dairy products ingredients it contains.
Preparation is very easy, as all of the ingredients could be found in your nearest grocery store, but if you can use organic products from small farms or producers, the taste will be different and you will support the sustainable economy, as well.

Ingredients for banitsa

Package of dough leaves – refrigerated

4 – 6 eggs

250-300 gr. Cheese ( usually cow cheese)

Two spoons of sunflower oil

50 gr yoghurt

Sparkling water

Melted butter

Preparation :

All of the products should be at room temperature

  1. 1. Whisk the eggs in a bowl, then add the cheese crumbled. Add the yoghurt and the sunflower oil. Finally, add a few drops of sparkling water and mix all together. Do not use the chopper, it‘s best mixed manually.

Preheat the oven

  1. 2. Use the dough sheets one by one.  Spread thoroughly the melted butter on the first sheet and add some quantity of the mixture. Now you can either roll the dough like a spiral or put it straight fon the tray. Continue with the other sheets left, as long as you have some mixture. It‘s better if you can keep a small amount of the mix for the final touch.
  2. 3. Bake for 40 minutes at 150 degrees. Usually depends on the oven.

When it‘s almost done, spread the mixture leftovers as a topping. If you‘ve run out of the mix already, you can put melted butter instead.

Let the ready banitsa ‘rest’, covered with a clean towel. Eat while it‘s warm. The best drink for accompaniment is ayryan. Similar to the labneh for drinking, ayryan is half yoghurt, half water, beaten and seasoned with a pinch of salt.

Enjoy the taste of Bulgaria.

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