A savory Bulgarian pastry made with filo dough and stuffed with a light filling of spinach, cheese and eggs. I first had banitza at a wonderful restaurant, the Acacia Fillo Bar in Vancouver's West End. After reading this recipe ... http://www.banitza.com/ and several others on the internet, I combined elements from several sources to create my own banitza recipe. Boy, did it come out YUM!!! Labor intensive, but NOT difficult, and SO worth it!!
- The filo dough takes two hours to thaw, so either plan ahead, and let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight, or be sure to put it out early in the day.
- Put the chopped spinach and finely sliced leek in a frying pan with a very small amount of oil. Sauté just until spinach is wilted, and leeks have become transparent (about 5 minutes).
- Set spinach mixture aside to cool.
- In a large bowl. mix the crumbled cheese, milk and eggs together. Don't over mix - cheese should be lumpy.
- Add well-drained cooked spinach, mix lightly.
- Take a sheet of filo dough, lay it flat, brush it with melted butter, and stack another sheet of dough on top. Butter again, then lay one more sheet on top. Now you have a stack of three layers. With a teaspoon, place a line of filling all along the bottom edge, then, roll it up into a tight roll with the filling on the inside of the roll. The long roll is then taken and rolled up in a circle. This first sheet of dough is then placed in the baking pan. (I used a pizza pan, it worked perfectly) The process is repeated with the remaining sheets of dough and each consecutive roll is placed around the first one in the pan. The resulting shape resembles a spiral. Repeat until all mixture is used. Brush the remaining butter all over the top. Bake about 30 minutes @ 400 F, or until golden.