Ramonas Bulgarian Banitsa
From Shelley Boettcher
Ramona makes myriad variations of this dish – she sometimes adds cubed pumpkin or apple, plus cinnamon, sugar and walnuts instead of the cheese. She also sometimes makes it with spinach, eggs and cheese, too. In fact, there are at least a thousand variations, since every home cook has his or her version.
Ramona also added a bit of soda, a very sweet Bulgarian pop, and, when she’s in North America, she uses Sprite or 7-Up. I found that the recipe was far too soupy here with the addition of the soda, so I’ve left it out – and, weirdly, it pretty much tastes the same. Either way, it’s a very rich dish; a tiny slice goes a long way.
- 1 package of phyllo pastry, thawed
- 400 g. feta cheese, drained and crumbled
- 6 eggs
- 1/2 t. baking soda
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt (no gelatin added)
- 1/4 c. melted butter
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a baking pan with some of the melted butter. (I use a deep Pyrex pie plate, roughly 9” across the top and 2” high).
Crumble the cheese into a big bowl and add the eggs. Stir until the yolks are broken. Add the baking soda to the yogurt and stir, then add to the egg-cheese mixture and stir.
Using a pastry brush, brush the melted butter onto the pan. Place three sheets of phyllo over the bottom of the pan. Spread a thin layer – about 1/2” deep, about 1 c. of the egg mixture – on top. Place two or three more sheets of phyllo on top, and continue to layer, just like making lasagna, until the pan is filled. Top with three layers of phyllo and brush lightly with melted butter. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until the dish is golden-brown and the cheese has melted. Serve warm and refrigerate the leftovers. Serves about 8.