Banitsa Recipe

Lastest Updated April 21, 2024
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The traditional Banitsa cheese pie recipe can be layered or rolled. It is made from thin crusts of dough topped with a mixture of eggs, yogurt, and, most importantly, white brine cheese. After baking, the Banitsa is a fluffy, golden brown, and soft pie with a crispy crust on top.

The white brine cheese (Sirene in Bulgarian or Fete in Greece) plays an essential role in the recipe, which is an indispensable part of the table of the Balkan nations. Another key element of Banitsa is the traditional Bulgarian yogurt that provides a unique tartness to the treat.

There are many approaches to Banitsa, the filling can be both sweet or savory by altering the fillings (Turkish sweets, leeks, or spinach). Either way, people enjoy Banitsa in Bulgaria as a breakfast or as a treat for guests.

Tools

Making Banitsa is simple, but what makes the recipe more appealing lies in the few tools you need. Here are a couple of utensils to pull off this delectable Bulgarian treat at home.

Basting Brushs
  • Baking tray – medium size: for baking the Banitsa.
  • Bowl – medium size: for mixing and containing the filling mixture.
  • Basting brush: for distributing the filling over the pastry.
  • Fork: for breaking up the cheese and whisking the necessary elements into the filling

You will need the bowl to crumble the cheese with the fork and then mix in the remaining ingredients for the filling. With the basting brush, you will grease the pie crusts and the baking tray. And you will need the baking tray to bake your Banitsa in the oven.

Ingredients

Before jumping into the kitchen, here are a couple of ingredients you need to have to pull off this Banitsa recipe right at home. These elements are easy to find at any grocery store.

Bulgarian Yogurt
  • Filo pastry: To make this recipe, you need thin crust pastry, which is used to make the crispy layer of this baklava dessert.
  • Cheese: For an authentic taste of the Banitsa, use white brine cheese from cow’s or sheep’s milk, but you can replace it with Feta cheese.
  • Bulgarian yogurt: For an authentic taste of the pie, use Bulgarian yogurt, which has a mild tartness, because of the fermentation from the unique bacteria available at this latitude. In addition, the dairy product provides a thick and creamy texture to the filling.
  • If you can’t find such a product, the closest in taste is Greek yogurt or using plain yogurt.
  • Egg: You will need 3 eggs (large size) for this recipe.
  • Baking soda: To make the Banitsa fluffier, half a teaspoon of baking soda should be the filling.
  • Oil: You can use melted butter and sunflower oil for this recipe. If you like the taste of butter, you can use just butter, but the banitsa will be firmer after cooling down. I use equal amounts of melted butter and sunflower oil to fix this.

Instructions

It’s time to nail your Banitsa with this simple instruction. All you have to do is follow these simple guides to experience a Bulgarian treat right at home.

Step 1: Prepare The Cheese Filling

First, place the drained cheese in the bowl and crumble it with a fork (or with fingers). Then mix well with the eggs, yogurt, and baking soda using a fork. Set the mixture aside.

Prepare The Cheese Filling

Step 2: Preheat The Oven And Baking Tray

Preheat the oven to 356°F (180°C). Meanwhile, grease a medium-sized baking tray with oil.

Preheat The Oven And Baking Tray

Step 3: Spread The Pastry Sheets With The Butter Mixture

Take a sheet of Filo dough and spread it out on a clean work surface with the wider side facing you. Brush the sheet with some of the oil using the basting brush.

Spread The Pastry Sheets

Step 4: Distribute The Filling Over Pastry Sheets And Roll Them

Spread the filling mixture around the sheet evenly. Then, lift the edge of the sheet closest to you and roll/fold it. Roll the sheet into a snail and place it in the middle of your baking tray.

Pastry Sheets And Roll Them

Repeat steps 3 and 4 with other sheets (without rolling it into a snail), wrapping it around the rolled first sheet in the baking tray. Repeat with the rest of the sheets until you fill up your baking tray.

Ready The Banitsa For Baking

Step 5: Ready The Banitsa For Baking

Brush the Banitsa with the remaining oil. Transfer the tray to the oven and bake at 356°F (180°C) for 25 minutes or until puffed and golden brown.

Brush The Banitsa

Once baked, remove it from the oven and let it cool for about 10 minutes before slicing.

Banitsa Cheese Pie

Tips For Making Banitsa.

The recipe also works with frozen pastry sheets, but you must thoroughly thaw them. You may do this ahead by moving the frozen sheets to the refrigerator or simply leaving them at room temperature.

Another thing to note while working with the pastry sheet is they become dry relatively quickly. For that, you want to cover the dough with a damp towel to maintain the moisture content while preparing other steps.

While applying the filling to the pastry sheet, make sure you do it gently to avoid ripping the dough.

Bring A Breeze Of Bulgarian Culture Into Your House By Making Banitsa

A lovely breakfast or dessert is irresistible for an impeccable meal. For that, Banitsa delivers a mesmerizing soft texture and a crisp outer layer. Better yet, Banitsa doesn’t require any sophisticated utensils to whip up.

Feel free to create this iconic Bulgarian treat whenever you want. Don’t forget to leave your opinion on what it’s like to create the Banitsa. Share this article with your close ones so they can materialize this easy recipe at home.

Banitsa Cheese Pie Recipe

Banitsa – Cheese Pie Recipe

Banitsa is a traditional Bulgarian cheese pie made with Filo pastry sheets, cheese, yogurt, and eggs and it is so soft and fluffy, but the best part is, it is easy to make and is so delicious!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Breakfast, Brunch
Cuisine: Bulgarian
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 10 servings
Calories: 794kcal

Ingredients

  • 8 Filo pastry sheets
  • Around 9 ounces of yogurt (250 grams)
  • 3 eggs, large
  • 7 ounces of white brine cheese or Feta cheese (200 grams)
  • 0.5 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 ounce or 30 grams of butter
  • 1 ounce or 30 grams of sunflower of oil

Instructions 

  • In a bowl, break up the white brine cheese (or Feta) into small chunks. Proceed to incorporate eggs, baking soda, and yogurt. Set the filling mixture aside.
    Prepare The Cheese Filling
  • Allow the oven to preheat to 356°F (180°C) and grease the baking tray with oil.
    Preheat The Oven And Baking Tray
  • Lay the pastry sheet over your kitchen surface and gently use a brush to distribute an oil mixture of sunflower oil and butter.
    Spread The Pastry Sheets
  • Take the yogurt mixture and spread it evenly over the pastry sheet. Then, lift the closest edge of the sheet and start rolling it into a cylindrical shape. Continue to roll the cylindrical pastry into a snail.
    Pastry Sheets And Roll Them
  • Repeat steps 3 and 4, placing the rolled sheets around the first snail-shaped until you fill up the baking tray.
    Ready The Banitsa For Baking
  • Apply the remaining oil to the Banitsa surface and bake at 356°F (180°C) for 25 minutes.
    Brush The Banitsa
  • Allow the baked Banitsa to cool off for 10 minutes before slicing.
    Banitsa Cheese Pie

Video

Notes

  • If you solely use butter to brush Banitsa, the pastry dough may become tougher after baking. Therefore, I suggest mixing an equal amount of butter and sunflower oil to handle this problem.
  • Make sure you use a damp towel to cover the pastry sheets since they easily dry out at room temperature.
  • The total time of this recipe is based on 8 – 10 servings.

Nutrition

Calories: 794kcal | Carbohydrates: 120g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 1411mg | Potassium: 199mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 0.5g | Vitamin A: 226IU | Calcium: 131mg | Iron: 8mg
Mia Dimitrova

Mia Dimitrova

Content Writer

Expertise

Home Cooking, Meal Planning, Food Styling, Food Photography, Culinary Storytelling, Cooking-video Maker, European Food Content Creator, Bulgarian Food Evaluation Expert

Education

Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”

  • Program: Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography
  • Focus: Captured the soul of Bulgarian and European dishes, emphasizing the interrelation between visual appeal and culinary history.
    Completed a thesis titled “Bulgaria on a Plate: A Photographic Journey through our Gastronomic Legacy.”

European Culinary Arts Academy

  • Program: Certified Course in Food Styling
  • Focus: Gained expertise in presenting dishes from Bulgaria and beyond, understanding the intricacies of European culinary aesthetics.

Maria Dimitrova, or Mia, is a Contributing Writer from Sofia, Bulgaria. Her work beautifully intertwines the rich flavors of Bulgarian and European dishes with their visual storytelling, capturing the soul of each cuisine. Through engaging content and stunning photography, Maria explores the intricate relationship between food’s aesthetic appeal and cultural history.

Specializing in home cooking, food styling, and photography, she brings European culinary traditions to life, offering a unique glimpse into Bulgaria’s gastronomic heritage. Maria’s expertise highlights her deep appreciation for culinary art and invites her audience to embark on a flavorful journey through Europe’s diverse food landscape.

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