Bulgarian Pumpkin Pie or Sweet Banitsa (тиквеник) is a Bulgarian dish I like a lot. I have spent a part of my life in Bulgaria. I love this country very much for its traditions, folklore, people and kitchen, of course. Sweet Banitsa is one of the most traditional dishes eaten throughout the whole year, even on holidays like Christmas or Easter. It is usually served as a breakfast with plain yogurt or snack during the whole day.
The traditional Savoury Banitsa is filled with white cheese (similar to Greek feta). My favourite is the sweet one, filled with pumpkin and nuts. Ideal during the pumpkin season. You can use any pumpkin and nuts of your liking. The best combination is Hokkaido, Winter Squash and walnuts. You can try the version without topping as well, but enjoy yourselves properly. Добър апетит!
Bulgarian Pumpkin Pie is suitable for kids 2 plus because of a possible egg white intolerance. Sweet Banitsa can be a bit heavy for breakfast, I recommend to serve it as an afternoon dessert.
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
12 sheets of filo pastry
1 smaller muscat pumpkin (around 1 kilo, which made 700g of cleaned pumpkin), peeled, deseeded and grated
200g of walnuts (ground walnuts optional)
120g of butter, melted
120g of cane sugar
A pinch of nutmeg
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon and ginger
3 large eggs
50g of cane sugar
200ml of white Greek yogurt
First, place all nuts on a baking tray lined with a baking paper. Roast them in the oven for about 5-10 minutes on 180 degrees until they are crispy and golden. Take them out and chop them hardly.
Next, prepare The Filling in a large mixing bowl. Mix nuts, grated pumpkin and 120g of cane sugar. Add all spices (a nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger) and give it a good stir. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Prepare a medium baking tray (a round form looks better in the result, I used 24cm) and brush it a bit with the melted butter.
Put the first sheet of filo pastry on a working surface and brush it with a good amount of melted butter. Put the second sheet on the first one and brush it again.
Then, sprinkle the pastry with 2 handfuls of The Filling (not too much) and roll it up very tightly. Place the rolled Banitsa into the tray. The resulting shape resembles a spiral or snake.
Repeat with all the sheets until the whole tray is full and you have no ingredients to continue with. Bake in the oven for about 30-40 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the topping. Whisk the eggs with sugar until it doubles its amount and whitens. Then, stir in the yogurt.
Take out the Banitsa and pour in The Topping. Bake for another 10 minutes until nicely golden on the top.
Warm or cold, it is simply delicious!
Makes 10 serves.