This Bulgarian banitsa recipe was adapted from one by Valesto, a Ukrainian manufacturer of phyllo products. Ever since I went to Greece, and Bosnia, and well, the rest of the Balkans, I’ve always wanted to make a phyllo pie. Bulgaria is very underrepresented when it comes to food, and I think that is a huge oversight by the culinary community.
Now, a Bulgarian banitsa can technically be filled with a huge variety of things. It can be savory or sweet, and it can be laid out in strips, or in a spiral like I did. It is a slightly messy, very fun thing to make. Plus you can get extremely creative.
This banitsa is filled with bryndza cheese, because it was my first time making it and I wanted to keep things simple. This cheese is not native to Bulgaria, but rather Romania, Poland, Ukraine, and Slovakia. Since I live in Ukraine I liked use something from here (also because it was in the original recipe). So maybe this is a Bulgarian banitsa fusion.
All you have to do is to lay out your phyllo dough end to end in a long strip. Then you just spoon the cheese mixture along the length and roll it into a tube. Next I just turned it into a spiral shape, pressed in the seeds, and then moved it to a parchment paper disk. The original recipe asked for a sour cream wash, but as bryndza can already be quite tangy I opted for a simple water diluted egg wash instead. Then bake for 30 minutes or until lightly golden, and your Bulgarian banitsa is ready to serve.
Bulgarian Banitsa With Bryndza
- Baking Tray
- 8 sheets Phyllo Pastry 30×40 cm
- 50 grams Butter melted
- 200 grams Bryndza Cheese
- 100 grams Cottage Cheese
- 100 ml Buttermilk
- 1 tsp Black Pepper optional
- 1 Egg
- 50 ml Water
- 1 tsp Sesame Seeds
- 1 tsp Flax Seeds
- 1 tsp Sunflower Seeds
- 1 tsp Trader Joe's Everything But The Bagel Seasoning optional
- Salt to taste
- Lay down your phyllo dough sheets on a lightly floured surface lengthwise end to end.
- In a bowl whisk together the two cheeses along with the buttermilk and black pepper. The cheese is salty enough on its own usually you don't need to add salt here.
- Spoon the cheese onto the dough in a lengthwise strip, then roll the phyllo dough into a tube.
- Twist the dough into a spiral and press in the seeds and seasoning. Beat together the 1 egg with the water and brush it over the banitsa. Sprinkle with salt to taste.
- Place in an oven preheated to 175 Celsius or 350 Fahrenheit for 30 minutes or until lightly golden.
- Let cool for 10 minutes and serve.