Christmas is around the corner and we already have started to gather for lots of family celebrations.
Here is one very traditional pastry dish we prepare for Christmas Eve feast. I need to be clearer – we make this dish almost on weekly basis but the special thing is that for Christmas Eve we add special wishes and the buds from a tree that starts to blossom during winter time and it is known as Dog’s Tree. It represents strength, resilience and good health. Since Christmas in Australia is summery season, I replaced the buds with the ones from my Apricot tree in our backyard. We always try to put a wish worthy and thoughtful (no Porsche, Paspaley pearls and bubble ice cream included!). The list goes – “WISDOM”, “FAMILY”, “HEALTH”, “WEALTH”, “LOVE”, “WORK”, “LUCK”, “HAPPINESS”...
This pastry dish can be seen in many shapes and cuts around Bulgaria but the one that stays with the strongest meaning and blessing is the Fortune Banitza twisted in coil. The spiral shape symbolises the Circle of Life, the endless journey for inner peace, love and success. And most of all, my children love the crunchy and beautiful texture we get, when Banitza is swirled around. When ready to eat, we always cut and keep one piece of this dish for "Grandpa" God.
So, let’s roll up our sleeves and start rolling these pastries!
1 packet of good quality filo pastries
2 egg yolks
500 gr Bulgarian brined sheep cheese
1 cup of extra virgin olive oil
Remove the cheese from the brine and soak it overnight in plain water to remove some of the saltiness and to allow mellower taste.
Keep the filo pastry wrapped in damp kitchen towel to protect them for drying.
Preheat the oven to 150 degrees Celsius.
In a big bowl mix roughly the cheese and the eggs without overbeating and let it have a lumpy texture.
Spread one sheet of filo pastry, brush over olive oil with fast strokes. Place over second sheet and repeat. Cover with the third sheet and spread at the longer side of the pastry some of the feeling. Place in one of the fortune wishes. Working fast, roll gently the pastry into a tube and start twisting it into a coil. Leave the end of it slightly undone, so it can be easily connected with the next roll of pastry. Continue with the next roll as you allow some of the pastry undone so it can be connected and twisted into the previous and to continue the smoothness of the coil. At the end brush with olive oil.
Place in the oven and bake until golden.
Now it’s time to see what fortune we’ve got! What's yours? I've picked again the “kitchen chores”...
Till my next post!
My very best wishes,
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