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Cheese Banitsa

Cheese Banitsa is a popular and delicious cheese pastry eaten throughout Bulgaria.

Although eaten in homes all year round, it is also a dish that is prepared for the second Christmas celebration in the Bulgarian calendar and that is New Years' Eve where a traditional family meal is celebrated in Bulgaria. ‘kusmeti' or fortune notes in the form of flags will be placed on every portion of banitsa so everybody can read their future for the following year.

Ingredients

Baking tray about 12"x15"

15 sheets of filo pastry the same size as tray
6 eggs
300gm crumbled sirene or grated feta
300 ml soda water
Melted butter

Method

1. Heat the oven to 180 Celsius, and grease the baking tray.
2. In a mixing bowl beat the eggs, and grate or crumble the cheese into fine crumbs. Add the water and mix together.
3. Take 3 sheets of filo and line tray; pour about 2/3 ladles of cheese mixture over the pastry until coated. Continue until all the cheese mixture has been used and the top layers of filo are left plain to simply add the melted butter, this ensures a golden topping. Add more water if required in small amounts.
4. Place on the top shelf and cook for about 20-30 minutes, until cooked - check by using a fork in the centre to check the egg is cooked.
5. When cooked remove and with a fork prick entire banitsa to release the air, then cover with a clean tea towel until cool. Cut into portions and serve, delicious.