Anyone planning a weekend brunch? Bougatsa is one of my favorite Greek pastries. The (breakfast) dessert originated and is very popular in Thessaloniki, the part of Greece where my father is from.
However, in Greece, Bougatsa is served as a breakfast pastry, and it is one that you should definitely try! The filling is made from custard, while the outside is phyllo pastry dough, and the combination of the two is simply amazing!
As Greek cuisines vary from region to region, Bougatsa recipes also have a tendency to do so. I have tasted Bougatsa with very sweet custard, and have also tasted varieties with a less sweet filling. The phyllo pastry can also vary in texture. My favorite Bougatsa is the one with a touch of sweetness and a crunchy pastry dough!
For me, the perfect morning in Greece starts with a frappe with a warm piece of Bougatsa. I tell everyone who has asked about what to eat in Greece that you must try this pastry, as it will forever be a memory of your travels.
- 4 cups milk
- 1 cup semolina
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 package phyllo dough
- (1 lb) 6 tbsp butter melted
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Lemon zest
- Powdered sugar
Preheat oven at 350
Beat eggs until frothy.
Beat in sugar.
Heat milk on medium heat, do not let boil. Remove from heat.
Whisk egg and sugar mixture into milk in a slow stream, never stop whisking to prevent curdling.
Place mixture on low heat and stir consistently for 4 minutes.
Gradually pour in semolina and stir until it thickens for 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and let cool. When cooled, add lemon zest and vanilla extract and a tsp of butter.
Unroll the first phyllo sheet and lay in a 10x5 inch baking pan or you can make an individual pie on a cookie sheet (see photos). Brush with melted butter.
Repeat the process with the next 4 sheets.
Pour the custard on the phyllo and spread evenly throughout the pan.
Repeat the process with the rest of the phyllo sheets, roll the edges of the remaining phyllo dough towards the center of the pan and brush the top and edges with melted butter.
Bake for 25 minutes until golden brown
Cool, cut into pieces and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Phyllo dough - most phyllo dough will come frozen so let it thaw before using. When any phyllo dough is taken out of the package, you should lay the sheets out on the counter and take a damp cloth and cover them to prevent dryness. Phyllo dough is delicate but forgiving. Emulsifier - as seen in my pictures, I used the emulsifier when creating the custard. This helps prevent the eggs from curdling and will make the custard smooth and rich. Feel free to use a hand whisk, hand mixer or emulsifier.