Banitza, or The Most famous bake in Bulgaria
I have no idea when was the last time I posted 3 times in a week….Might’ve never happened actually. But there is always a First time for everything, right?!
A few people asked me for the recipe of this very common for Bulgaria, breakfast option. We have it as breakfast, as snack, as lunch or dinner too.
All Bulgarian kids have grown up with it and usually is made by grandmas ( most of them make their own filo and in the villages they had competitions who’s Banitza is the best, with the thinest and crisp filo, aka Bake off for Banitza ).
There are lots of different options but the most common is with eggs and Feta.
My great grandma was amazing. She made everything by hand, and the filo sheets were so thin, you could see through them. She always used butter ( very often homemade by her, from her own cows too), same with the feta. The eggs were from her chickens that run freely in the garden.
So imagine the colour and the taste….I am one lucky girl to grew up with this and being able to witness it all, as well.
Unfortunately non of us , the girls in the family got the skill of her.
She did try and we did try too, but she never had any proportion and she measured everything with pinch, or handful. She couldn’t watch us being all clumsy and she used to say - Here, let me show you… and then she will make it herself.
It was amazing to watch her, with such am ease and gentle touch, with such a passion and love. She was absolute magician with any dough she touched.
No freestanding mixers, food processors, bread makers ….everything done by her own two hands.
Anyway, now we have readymade filo in the shops ( Thanks God it is so easy to find nowadays in this country also) and at least I can get 10% closer to her by making this family favourite bake.
I do like it with leek and spinach also. I will make it soon and post another version of it.
I must admit that I make it so often I never measure it, so I had to think hard how much I used so to share the recipe.
For my Bulgarian readers and friends - please share your take on Banitza.
Oh, and if someone asked me- What are your 3 favourite dishes that brings you back to your roots?
This will be it.
Second place is Stuffed Vine leaves, Oh my Oh my!!!
And 3rd place is to My grandma’s “mish-mash". Made with very light green summer peppers , eggs and feta, with butter.Fried. Most of the time accompanied by Tarator - summer cold soup - natural yoghourt, crushed garlic, chopped dill and chopped cucumber.
You know how the most basic things are so difficult to nail ?!
Well, no-one can make the “mish -mash” like my grand ma! Sorry mum!!
Oh, I better start with the recipe:
So We need some filo.
12 sheets is good enough
250gr good quality feta
Good splash of oil
About 150gr melted butter.
I used a round baking tray but I have never found one in the shops in the UK so mine belonged to my grandma.
Oven on 190 degrees with fan.
Grease the tray very well with the butter.
In a big bowl
Beat lightly the egg, crumble the feta , add a good splash of oil ( there is nothing worst then dry Banitca). Sometimes I add a few spoons of yogurt to and gives it bit more fluffiness.
Then it comes the moment when you have to decide if you want to roll the pastry and it will look the one from the photo or you can simply layer the sheets and scrunch them lightly.
So you grease the first sheet with the butter with a pasty brush. Then sprinkle some of the egg mixture with a fork. Can’t tell you how much exactly, as this comes with experience but you will get the hang of it, after a few goes.
Roll the sheet very lightly and make it into a ….lets say to look like a snail,,…or a bun…
Repeat this with all of the filo sheets. It is much easier to just layer them one on top of the other with the egg mixture in-between.
After all the sheets are finished, and if you have some mixture left, you could add a few spoons of yogurt and sprinkle on top. Then you can sprinkle about 10 very small cubes of butter and bake for about 15-20 minutes till light golden.
If you have tried Turkish Bjurek, this is very similar.
I would love to know how you get on with it if you decide to make it.