Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Gibanica – Serbian Cheese Pita – Pita sa sirom
Gibanica (pronounced GHEE-ba-nee-tza or Gi-BAN-itza) is also known as cheese pita. This is a recipe for slano pita (salty). It is served as an appetizer or mid-meal, as in our family during holiday meals. There are sweet gibanicas which I will post at a later date.This savory cheese filled pie is popular throughout Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia, where it is called Cheese Pita (pee-ta)
You can make this in a 9x12 pan, a round casserole pan or on a large sheet pan with individual rolls. Our family loves the crisp end pieces so we roll them like a log using 3 sheets of filo with filing down the middle, minus the water. This is the way my hubby’s Baba Jovanka made them. I started crumpling them because that was the way my Teta Seka did it…..so there is no set way to do it!
On my bucket list is to make filo from scratch and hand pull the dough as my mother-in-law does it. That’s another blog post for another time. Besides, my nails are too long to attempt it! Please take a few minutes and watch this village lady make hand rolled pita…truly an art!
So beautiful and delicious songs are made about it!
Volim Majko Sirom Pitu
1 package filo (phyllo) dough
2 cups feta cheese, crumbled
1 cup sour cream
1 cup ricotta or cottage cheese, mashed well
½ pound finely diced or shredded Brick cheese, optional
4 tablespoons of sparkling mineral water
4 eggs, separated
½ stick melted butter
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Beat egg whites and set aside
Any round or rectangular pan will do, preferably glass.
Grease the pan with oil or melted butter. Lay 4 sheet of filo into the dish, covering all edges, letting some of the filo hang over the sides. Brush each layer with some melted butter.
• As always when working with filo sheets, cover them with a damp towel so they will not dry out*
Remove four filo leaves, brushing with butter, setting them aside for you to use as a top, ensuring you have enough dough. (Use scissors to trim them into a circle if you are using a round pan).
• Stir together yolks, feta, sour cream and ricotta or cottage cheese and brick. Stir in the mineral water. Gently fold egg whites into mixture
Carefully dunk a sheet of filo into the mixture. Gently crumple it and place it into the pan accordion style. Repeat until all the filling is used. DO NOT get discouraged if the filo sheets break in the mix. Just scoop them out. If you have any leftover filling, just pour it around the pan. Place the ‘lid’ on top. Fold the overhanging filo back over the top. You may place a few extra leaves on top, as they will protect the rest from burning. They can be removed if they get too dark (we love to eat those pieces)
Bake at 400F. for approximately 45 minutes until the top is dark golden brown.
Serve warm or cool.
• Reheats beautifully in a 350 degree F oven for 8 to 10 minutes in tinfoil.
• If you have a plate big enough, you can invert the finished pita onto a plate. They serve it this way in shops that sell pita. I saw it flipped into a pizza box to sell it whole in a Serbian store in Niagrara Falls.