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A common sweet or savory pastry that is popular in Bulgaria where it is most often prepared during Christmas. With an appearance similar to a large soufflé, A Banitsa is made with layers of buttered phyllo dough which have eggs, pieces of crumbled white cheese and possibly yogurt stuffed between the layers. It is then baked and served as a dessert pastry. If it is made as a savory pastry the ingredients may include spinach, herbs, milk, or pumpkin. When the pastry becomes part of the holiday celebration, the Banitsa may contain several small charms, coins or sayings written on paper that covey good luck to any person receiving the token within the piece served. This pastry may also be referred to as Bonitza, Bonitsa, or Banica.
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