Gibanica is version of a feta cheese pie typical for Balkan region. It is similar to burek, but still different enough to be its own kind of pie. For gibanica you have to fold phyllo dough sheets and soak them in a filling made from feta cheese, eggs, and sparkling water. The problem is if you live in North America, you cannot find thick phyllo dough sheets that you need for gibanica, except sometimes at eastern European stores. If you use those regular phillo sheets, gibanica is not as good as it supposed to be, it gets flat and not fluffy like it should be. For that reason I modified the recipe to use ingredients easily found at any local supermarket. For this feta cheese pie – gibanica, you need:
- 6 large burrito flour tortillas. Flour tortillas work best for my taste, but you can experiment with other kind of tortillas.
- 10 eggs
- 1 teaspoon (or 1 beg) of baking powder
- 500 mil of sparkling water
- 1 – 2 teaspoons of butter for greasing the baking pan and sprinkle some on the top
- 1 – 2 tablespoons of bread crumbs to spread over butter on the bottom of baking pan
- 1 – 2 tablespoons of sour cream (optional)
To make this delicious pie, you should simply crumble feta cheese, add 5 eggs, half a teaspoon (or half a bag) of baking powder and sour cream. Stir all together.
After that, spread this filling over 6 tortillas, wrap them up loosely, and put them in the baking pan that was greased with butter and dusted with bread crumbles.
When you roll up tortillas, tuck in the ends nicely before putting them in the baking pan.
Now take a fork and perforate rolled tortillas. It will allow the fill to saturate.
At this point you can cut gibanica into pieces, especially if you do not have a time to leave it over night before baking.
In a mixing bowl mix together another 5 eggs, the other half of the baking powder, and sparkling water. Pour this evenly over rolled up tortillas. Slice small pieces of butter and put on the top of the feta cheese pie.
The best result you are going to get if you prepare this one day ahead of the time, just cover with plastic wrap and leave at the refrigerator overnight. Next day, you should take prepared pie out of the fridge and leave it at the room temperature for ½ hour or even longer, especially if you are using glass baking pan, you do not want it to brake because of the rapid temperature change.
To bake feta cheese pie, preheat oven to 375 Fahrenheit and bake it for 50 to 60 minutes. If you use convection oven, than bake the cheese pie for about 40 minutes, or until golden brown on the top. If you over bake it, it is going to be dry. When it is done, take out of the oven and cover with moistened kitchen paper towel. Let it stand for about ten minutes, then cut and serve. It is best if you eat gibanica when it is still warm and served with kefir or yogurt if is your breakfast or supper. But it also makes tasteful appetizer and it is perfect addition to any buffet table. Of course, you can warm it up in the microwave if it is yesterday’s left over.
Note: Once you master this feta cheese pie – gibanica, you can try to add some spinach or any other kind of green leaves, but first you have to blanch it (boil for one minute in a boiling water). That would be a version of Greek’s spanakopita.