For those of Macedonian-Bulgarian extraction, the making of Banitsa (similar to strudel) is considered the epitome of success in culinary art. This Banitsa is made with yeast. Not as difficult as it sounds. Very delicious.
FOR THE COTTAGE FILLING: Mash ingredients well together with a fork.
FOR THE COTTAGE CHEESE AND SPINACH: Chop spinach and remove stems; simmer in butter covered in frying pan; add salt and remove from burner. Cool slightly and add cottage cheese and eggs; stir well. Cool before using.
FOR THE COTTAGE CHEESE AND LEEKS: Above ingredients may be used substituting 2 cups chopped FRIED leeks for spinach.
FOR THE SAUERKRAUT: Wash and drain sauerkraut thoroughly; melt butter in frying pan and add sauerkraut. Fry for 10 minutes; add paprika and cheese, stir well with a fork. Allow to cool and add eggs. Mix well.
FOR THE MINCED MEAT AND ONION: Melt butter in frying pan and fry onions, green pepper and meat at medium heat, stirring constantly until meat has changed colour. Add paprika, tomatoes and salt. Mix well and continue to cook for another 10 minutes. Add black pepper. Allow to cool before using.
FOR THE ONION: Melt butter in frying pan and sauté onions and peppers until soft, being careful not to burn. Add seasonings, stir. Remove from heat and allow to cool; add eggs. Mix well.
FOR THE BANITSA: Dissolve 1/2 teaspoons sugar in 1/4 cup lukewarm water. Sprinkle yeast over it and let stand for about 10 minutes. Sift flour in bowl and make a well. Add salt and yeast mixture. Then add 1 cup lukewarm water and start mixing to form a dough. Knead, adding more flour until dough is soft, but not sticky.
Cut into 9 sections and roll into balls. Let stand a few minutes. Take EACH ball and roll out until the size of a pie plate about 9 inches.
Make into piles of three, brushing each circle with melted butter.
You will have three piles with 3 circles in each pile brushed with melted butter except for the top circle.
Take one circle and roll out on table. Stretch it as much as you can. The edge of the circle should be thin as the rest of the circle. Brush with melted butter.
Take 1/3 of your prepared filling and spread along bottom edge of your circle and spread along one side. Roll up, cut in half lengthwise, seal each end with your fingers and place on a buttered baking pan. Repeat with the remaining circles. This will make 6 strips of pastry. Brush strips with butter. Let rise for about 1/2 hour and bake in a preheated oven for 350°F for about 1/2 hour until done.
Traditioal Macedonian Recipes Ladies ‘Auxiliary’ “ Mara Buneva”.