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Bulgarian Savory Cheese Pie Appetizer - Banitza/Banitsa

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Bulgarian Cheese Banitza/Banitsa

Bulgarian Savory Cheese Pie - Banitza/Banitsa

© 2008 Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.

Bulgarian cheese banitza (banitsa) appetizers are similar to Serbian "bureks" and Greek cheese pies. They are traditionally served warm as a first course or in a "meze" (appetizer) spread. They are popular as a vegetarian main course, snack and street food. Banitzi also can be a sweet dessert with apple and pumpkin among the fillings.

Makes 16 banitzi

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups crumbled, well-drained Bulgarian feta cheese
  • 6 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 16 sheets filo dough, thawed
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • Sea salt and chopped green onions for garnish, if desired

Preparation:

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, combine cheese, yogurt and eggs until smooth.

  2. Fold one sheet of filo dough in half so it measures 12 inches by 8 inches. Brush lightly with melted butter.

  3. Portion out a 1/2-inch strip of filling along either the 12-inch edge if you want an "S"-shaped scroll, or along the 8-inch edge for a cigar-shaped roll and 1/4 inch away from the edges. Fold up bottom edge first, then sides and then roll away from yourself until you have a tight cylinder. Brush lightly with more melted butter.

  4. Repeat with remaining 15 sheets of filo dough. Shape long cylinders into "S" shapes or leave short cylinders as is and place them on a parchment-lined pan. Sprinkle with sea salt and chopped green onions, if desired. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Serve warm or at room temperature.
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