This recipe is actually a pretty simple traditional recipe. My dad will quote his mother as saying, “there’s nothing difficult about making banitsa.” It is traditionally a breakfast item but in my family we enjoy it for any meal. My dad really likes making this for me because he struggles making food for me being that I’m vegetarian. And I really like it when he makes this recipe because I am completely obsessed with feta (side bar: when I was vegan feta cheese and salmon were the only things I really missed). My dad usually makes this like a lasagna, where he will layer the ingredients with the phyllo dough. That is definitely the easy way. For these pictures I wanted to try a more traditional presentation by rolling the dough into a cinnamon bun like presentation. This is my first time trying that, so please forgive me if it’s not as pretty.
- 8oz (1/2 lb.) 227g frozen phyllo dough
- 6 eggs
- 1 cup cottage cheese
- 1 cup (~8oz/1/2 lb/227g) crumbled bulgarian feta (greek feta works as well)
- ~4tbsp of unsalted butter or olive oil
Now since I mentioned that there are two ways of making it I will include both directions.
Working with phyllo dough:
If you’ve never worked with phyllo dough, don’t be scared! I’ve never tried to make it from scratch, I just buy it frozen. You can usually find it near the frozen puff pastry and frozen pie crusts. Make sure the dough is completely thawed before you work with it. The directions say leave it out at room temperature for 2 hours. Make sure you do not take it out of the plastic package until you are ready to work with it. I work a lot with it and the secret is to just be fast. Butter/oil is your best friend when it comes to phyllo dough, especially if your new to it.
If you are rolling it up as I did in the picture:
Preheat the oven the 350F. Butter a 9.5inch/24cm pie pan. In a medium size bowl put all the eggs in and scramble. Add the cottage cheese and crumbled feta and mix well. Take three sheets of phyllo dough, place on a large cutting board and drizzle the egg and cheese mixture all over the the dough. Roll the dough, ensure that the egg mixture doesn’t leak out the sides. Place the rolled dough on the outer edge of the pie pan. Place each roll to be continuous with the previous one until you reach the centre. You may need to squish the final one in there, but they need to be snug with each other. Don’t worry about it being too perfect because the whole thing will puff up in the oven. Brush the top with the unsalted butter or olive oil. Bake at 350 for about 45min or until the top is a golden brown. Allow to cool for 10min before digging in.
If you are layering like lasagna:
Preheat the oven the 350F. Butter a 9inch x13inch pyrex pan. Double all the ingredients. In a medium size bowl put all the eggs in and scramble. Add the cottage cheese and crumbled feta and mix well. Take two sheets of phyllo dough, place in the pyrex pan and drizzle the egg and cheese mixture all over the the dough, drizzle lightly with olive oil. Place another two sheets of phyllo dough and repeat until all the ingredients are used up. Don’t worry about it being too perfect because the whole thing will puff up in the oven. Brush the top with the unsalted butter or olive oil. Bake at 350 for about 45min or until the top is a golden brown. Allow to cool for 10min before digging in.