Bougatsa, (Greek – Μπουγάτσα), is a Greek breakfast pastry consisting of semolina custard, cheese, or minced meat filling between layers of phyllo.
Origin of Bougatsa
In Greece, it is said to originate in Serres, in the Macedonia region of northern Greece and is especially popular in the northern Greek port of Thessaloniki. Bougatsa is also served in Chania and Iraklion, Crete. In Chania, it is called “bougatsa Chanion” and is made by special pastry shops usually open from early morning until noon. The most common filling is a sweet semolina custard. Common savoury fillings include mizithra cheese or minced meat. In Iraklion, the most famous is made by shops on Morosini Square, by the descendants of Armenian refugees from Asia Minor.
Preparation of Bougatsa
Greek bougatsa is prepared from filo dough wrapped around a filling. After it is baked, it is cut into serving pieces and served hot. If the filling is semolina custard, then the pastry may be lightly dusted with icing sugar or cinnamon.
Most modern bougatsa is made with machine-made phyllo, but some cafes and bakeries selling hand-made bougatsa still exist, especially in smaller towns and villages of Greece.
Bougatsa me Krema Recipe
- 4¼ cups whole milk
- sliced peel of 1 lemon
- 1¼ cups sugar
- ¾ cup semolina
- 4 eggs
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 12 sheets filo pastry
- 170 g butter, melted
For the topping
- icing sugar (powdered sugar)
- ground cinnamon
- Warm the milk and lemon peel in a saucepan. Stir in semolina with a wooden spoon until the mixture is thoroughly blended and thickened. In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, and vanilla until light and add to the pan, stirring over medium-low heat until it reaches a creamy custard consistency. Remove from heat, take out and discard lemon peel, and allow to cool completely. Stir occasionally to keep the custard from forming a skin on top.
- Preheat oven to 180°C.
- Lightly brush a baking pan (33 x 23 x 5 cm or equivalent) with butter. Line the bottom of the pan with 8 sheets of phyllo, brushing each sheet well with the melted butter. Add the custard filling. Fold the excess phyllo that overlaps the pan in over the custard. Top with the remaining phyllo, brushing each with butter. Use a scissors to trim the top sheets to the size of the pan. Spray the top lightly with water and bake at 180°C for 30-40 minutes, until the top is golden brown.
- Remove from oven, sprinkle with icing sugar and cinnamon while hot, and serve warm.
In Greece, bougatsa is cut with a pizza cutter.