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Bougatsa

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Ingredients

Adjust Servings:
1 egg, room temperature
1 egg yolk, room temperature
¼ cup sugar
1½ cups whole milk
¼ cup semolina (farina)
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 lemon, zest of
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
8-10 phyllo pastry, thawed, covered with dampened towel
½ cup butter, melted
icing sugar
cinnamon

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Bougatsa

Phyllo pastry dessert layered with a filling of custard

Features:
  • Vegetarian
Cuisine:
  • 45 minutes
  • Serves 8
  • Medium

Ingredients

Note

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One of our favorite desserts! Our bougatsa recipe is a traditional, custard pie, but in researching the history, we found that it had a deeper history than a simple dessert.

Bougatsa is a traditional, rustic Greek pie consisting of a phyllo pastry layered with a filling of minced meat, cheese, or semolina custard. The name of the dish is a derivation of the Ottoman word pogatsa, denoting a pie filled with cheese.

Bougatsa has origins from the Byzantine period, when Constantinople was Greek, and it began as a dough that was stuffed with numerous sweet and savory fillings. Over time, bougatsa evolved to incorporate a thinly rolled, hand-made phyllo pastry. As many Turkish immigrants settled in Northen Greece, bougatsa became a specialty of Serres and Thessaloniki.

Today, the pies can be found throughout Greece, and now with our recipe, you can make your own!

Steps

1
Done

Beat eggs until frothy; beat in sugar until thick and foamy, about 4 minutes. Set aside.

2
Done

Heat milk in medium pot until hot but not boiling. Remove from heat and whisk into egg mixture in a thin stream until all the milk mixture is used up – never stop whisking.

3
Done

Pour custard mixture back into pot and set on medium-low heat; cook, stirring constantly, about 3-4 minutes. Gradually sprinkle in semolina, letting it flow out of your hand in a thin stream; add a pinch of salt.

4
Done

Reduce heat to very low, cook, stirring constantly, until thick and smooth, about 5-6 minutes. Whisk in pieces of cut up butter, incorporating completely into the semolina custard.

5
Done

Remove, place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard and cool completely.

6
Done

When cool, stir in juice, lemon zest and vanilla.

7
Done

Preheat oven to 350°F.

8
Done

Unroll one sheet of phyllo, keeping remainder covered with dampened kitchen towel. Place on a work surface, with narrow end facing you.

9
Done

Brush lightly with melted butter. Place 3 tbsp of custard on lower ⅓ of phyllo.

10
Done

Using a thin, flexible spatula, spread custard into a wide rectangle, approximately 10x5 inches, nearly covering lower third of phyllo.

11
Done

Fold right and left sides of phyllo towards center so that edges just meet; lightly brush folded sides with butter.

12
Done

Fold lower third up and brush with butter.

13
Done

Fold upper third down and brush with butter. It should now look like an envelope.

14
Done

Place on a lightly buttered baking sheet and repeat envelope-making procedure 7-9 more times (depending on how many bougatsa you are making).

15
Done

Brush tops of bougatsa with any remaining butter and bake until golden-brown, about 15-18 minutes. Let cool 20 minutes before serving.

16
Done

Serve warm, dusted with the sugar and cinnamon.

Contributor

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