Try your luck with Bulgarian banitsa with charms! Banitsa is a traditional Bulgarian pastry prepared with layers of phyllo dough, melted butter, whisked eggs, and various sweet or savory fillings. The dish is an important part of Bulgarian cuisine and is traditionally prepared on Christmas and New Year’s Eve. The Christmas banitsa usually has a hidden coin between the layers, small charms, or foil-wrapped messages of goodwill.
“Each country has its signature dishes and banitsa is the classic taste of Bulgaria. The recipe is usually passed down through generations and each family has its own personal touch in preparing the dish. It has a very special place on the Christmas table. The whole family—especially children—are excited to find the hidden charms, predicting what the future holds. I wish everyone tasty, joyful and happy holidays!”
-GEORGI PANAYOTOV, AMBASSADOR OF BULGARIA
🇧🇬 Bulgaria: Banitsa
- 1 lb Phyllo dough pastry sheets
- 14 oz Plain whole milk yogurt
- 6 Eggs
- ½ Cups Melted butter
- 1 lb Crumbled white brine cheese
- Dogwood tree branches for wishes
- Preheat oven to 350 F degrees, brush melted butter all over bottom and sides of a 10-inch spring form pan.
- Mix eggs, cheese and yogurt in a bowl, combine and stir ingredients well.
- Lay 2 sheets of phyllo dough down in the buttered pan and brush with melted butter.
- Cover the sheets with a thin layer of the egg, cheese, and yogurt mixture and top with 2 more sheets of phyllo dough.
- Repeat until all of the mixture is done, then top with 2 final sheets of phyllo dough. Brush on the remaining butter.
- Bake for 25-35 minutes or until golden.
- Once the banitsa is done, spray it with some water and cover it with a towel to let it cool down. Covering it lets the steam to soften the phyllo dough pastry sheets.
- On small pieces of paper, write New Year’s wishes such as health, love, and happiness. They can be placed either inside or on top of the pastry. Traditionally, the small pieces of paper are wrapped in protective foil and placed within the layers of the banitsa. (You may also roll them on dogwood tree branches and place them randomly on top of the pastry). Every slice served should go with a good luck wish.