¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ cup vegetable oil
½ cup whole milk yogurt
½ pound Bulgarian white cheese, sirene, or feta
½ pound phyllo sheets
1 tablespoon butter
Serves 4. Takes 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add baking soda, eggs, cup vegetable oil, and yogurt to mixing bowl. Mix with whisk or fork until well blended. Crumble white cheese into bowl. Mix with hands until well blended. Spray pie pan with no-stick spray.
Gently unroll phyllo dough. Drizzle 2 tablespoons yogurt/feta mixture onto phyllo sheet. Gently smooth mixture over entire phyllo sheet. Gently roll up the covered sheet into a log. Repeat for each phyllo sheet.
Place a phyllo log seam-side down along edge of pan. Gently shape phyllo log into a spiral. Place end of next phyllo log at the end of first log. Shape this phyllo log so as to continue to spiral started by the first one. Repeat until pie pan is completely filled with phyllo logs. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until pie turns golden brown.
1) In 1946, Bulgaria came under the control of the Soviet Union. Culinary historians note that Russia pretended to let Bulgaria rule through a council known as the Karfeni Glavi. This, of course, translates to “Potato Heads.” So, you can see how little the average Bulgarian though of the council. But by the late 1980s the Soviet Union was teetering on collapse. A few Potato Heads, sensing independence, while not yet ready to challenge Russia directly, started abstaining. But not many. Few wanted to stick his neck out. Then in 1989, Potato Head Iliev, noted Bulgaria’s national dish “Banista” was, in English, an anagram for “abstain.” He’d bring banitsa every time he abstained saying, “I’m hungry.” He’d let his fellow Potato Heads in on his secret. Soon, all the Heads were bringing banitsa and abstaining. Russian rule collapsed in the face of such a united opposition. Yay.
Paul De Lancey, Comic Chef, Ph.D.