In many parts of Bulgaria celebratory feasts include the traditional Bulgarian banitsa, a crispy, layered pastry, filled with feta cheese and sometimes spinach or leek too. At New Year in Bulgaria it is considered good luck to put a silver coin and small paper covered cornel tree buds inside the banitsa for the health and happiness of the finder. In some parts of the country, girls put the first slice of banitsa under their pillow in the belief that they will dream of their future husband.
- 1 x 250g pack of filo pastry
- 4 beaten eggs
- 1 mug of natural greek yoghurt
- 1 x 200g pack of cubed feta cheese
- ½ mug of sunflower oil and/or softened butter
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- Salt and black pepper
- Gently mix the yoghurt with the feta cheese
- Add the oil or butter (you can use ½ oil ½ butter) and stir gently
- Add the beaten eggs (saving a little for brushing the top before baking), baking powder and seasoning, and stir gently
- Warm the oven to 180 degrees (lower for fan assisted) or Gas Mark 4
- Oil the baking tray and place a layer of filo pastry down
- Now layer some of the mixture
- Repeat alternate layers of pastry and mixture, ending with a final layer of pastry
- Brush the top with the reserved egg and place in the oven for 20-30 minutes
- When ready, cover with a clean tea towel and let stand for 10 minutes
- Slice as required
Spinach or Leek Banitsa
Make this the same as the regular Banitsa recipe, but substitute 1 of the eggs with 150g of spinach or leeks that have been washed, cut and lightly fried (no more than five minutes).
Make a night of it
Serve warm Rakia to drink, add a little Bulgarian music and you could almost be there. Take a look at some of our Bulgarian and Slavic festivals, go to town and theme anything from the wildest party or most select dinner party around one of these colourful celebrations.
These white church candles give a beautiful ambiance to an evening. Fill your home with them, you can never have too many!