Banitsa (Banica, Banitza) is a Bulgarian cheese pie. I made a traditional version by wrapping phyllo sheets around a filling of eggs, feta, and yogurt, then arranging the rolled sheets in a circular pattern. It is sometimes made by placing the filling between layers of phyllo. To be honest, I was a little nervous trying this dish. Yogurt and feta can be strong to me, but this absolutely blew me away. I loved the presentation, especially when sliced to reveal the layers of phyllo and filling. Mixed with the eggs and flour, the filling had a creamy and light consistency. The baking soda reacts with the acidity of the yogurt to help create that lightness. Drizzled with honey, it was a perfect breakfast. It can be served hot or cold. I served it about 20 minutes after baking drizzled with honey.
In Bulgaria, Banitsa is commonly made on Christmas and New Year’s Eve with good luck charms added. The charms may be small pieces of dogwood branches with a certain number of buds, coins, or handwritten fortunes wrapped in foil.
There are many other variations that may include spinach (spanachena banitsa), milk (mlechna banitsa), pumpkin (tikvenik), leek and onion (luchnik), cabbage (zelnik), or apple (shtrudel).
If you are assembling your pie in a springform pan, place the pan on a rimmed baking sheet in the oven to catch any dripping that might seep through.
If you can find it, try to use Sirene or Bulgarian feta cheese. If not available, use the best quality feta you can find.