Ralitsa's Famous Banitsa
Monique Karaivanov, Period 6
(say it "BAH-nit-sa", not "ba-NEET-sa") is a traditional Bulgarian
dish consumed at any meal. Here in Bulgaria, breakfast is often a
pastry eaten while walking to work. If you've visited Bulgaria,
you've probably seen people eating banitsa purchased from street
kiosks, and you may even have tried some for yourself. I did, on my
first morning in Bulgaria, July 25, 1994. It was awful...I wondered
how I'd be able to live in Bulgaria eating food like this!
However, homemade banitsa is a completely different animal from
street banitsa. When Rali made it for the first time, I didn't want
any part of it...but I had a small piece, just to be polite. And it
was wonderful. I've been a dedicated banitsa consumer ever since.
Here's Rali's recipe...
What you need:
2 packets of phyllo dough (Bulgarian "fini kori" or phyllo from
the frozen desserts section)
200 grams of yellow cheese (Bulgarian kashkaval or a mixture of
cheddar and mozzarelle)
500 grams of white cheese (Bulgarian sirene or feta cheese)
100 grams of butter
1/2 cup of soda water
1 cup yogurt
How to make it:
Mix six of the eggs, the grated butter, the crumbled white cheese,
the yellow cheese cut in small pieces, and the yogurt. In a buttered
pan, lay a layer of the phyllo dough, spread a layer of the mixture,
and continue alternating layers so that the phyllo and the mixture
are finished about the same time. Finish with a layer of phyllo
dough. Then cut the banitsa into serving pieces. Mix the last egg
with the soda water and stir. Pour the mixture over the banitsa and
make sure there are no pieces of the phyllo dough left dry.
Bake in a preheated over at 200 C for 40 minutes, or till golden.
Same as the regular banitsa recipe, but substitute 3 eggs with 1/2
kilogram spinach, washed, cut and lightly fried (no more than five
Green Onion Banitsa
Same as the regular banitsa recipe, but substitute 3 eggs with 5-10
stalks of green onion (about 1 cup diced onion), lightly fried (no
more than ten minutes).