Bougatsa is a very crispy pastry dessert filled with velvety custard cream. Always served warm sprinkled with lots of icing sugar and cinnamon.
In Greece, we mostly have it for breakfast. It's a pretty fulfilling dessert to serve after a meal (unless you only have a tiny piece). That's why it's best served on its own for breakfast or along with a big cup of coffee. They're sooo good together.
There are two versions of Greek Bougatsa. There is the one you find in Greek bakeries, filled with custard cream. And the homemade version that always uses a semolina cream. Both versions taste awesome, but I always liked the custard cream Bougatsa more.
The reason is that even though semolina cream is firmer and more stable, custard cream creates the perfect contrast to this ultra crispy filo dessert. Warm and runny, velvety like cream oozing out of the crispy pastry. It's simply DIVINE!
As for making it...
This Greek dessert may sound a bit more difficult to make than it actually is. It requires only 30 minutes of cooking. Which to my mind is a fair amount of time to spend on cooking breakfast. Ehm...on a Sunday let's say 😀
So what you really do is:
- Add a thick layer of filo pastry sheets (pushed together) in a baking dish and drizzle with melted butter.
- Spread cream on top
- Cover with another layer of filo sheets.
- Ready to serve!
You can see how is it is to make on the picture tutorial below 🠓
I use a 15x10 inch / 38x25 cm baking dish (affiliate) for this recipe. It's ok if you use a slightly smaller one but don't go for a bigger one. The filo won't be enough.
The Custard cream
As for the custard cream, it's a classic pastry cream. Nothing fancy about it. Only a little less cornstarch was used than usual, to make it runnier.
COOKING TIPS & TRICKS
- Adding the filo pastry pushed together in waves makes it even crispier.
- Sprinkle the icing sugar on top right when you're about to serve. Otherwise, the steam coming out of the pastry will make it wet.
- Always serve warm before it loses its crispiness.
Bougatsa - Crispy Filo Pastry Filled With Warm Custard Cream
- 1 package phyllo pastry sheets 450 grams
- 200 grams (7 oz) butter melted
- 1 liter fresh milk
- 100 grams (3.5 oz) sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 40 grams (1.4 oz) cornstarch
- 4 large eggs
- icing sugar
- ground cinnamon
For The Cream:
- In a mixing bowl whisk together the eggs and cornstarch. Set aside.
- In a cooking pot add milk, sugar, and vanilla extract. Heat over medium-high heat.
- Once milk reaches a boiling point remove from heat. Using a ladle, start pouring milk slowly, into the egg mixture while whisking constantly.
- Incorporate half the milk into the eggs and then transfer the mixture back to the pot.
- Transfer pot back to the heat and keep whisking until cream thickens.
- Set cream aside while you prepare the base.
For The Base:
- Preheat oven to 200°C / 392°F.
- Lay open the filo stack on your working surface.
- Grease a 15x10 inch / 38x25 cm baking dish with melted butter.
- Take one filo sheet and gather it up together (to make it look wavy) to the corner of the dish. Repeat process with 4 more filo sheets to cover the whole bottom of the dish.
- Drizzle using the ⅓ of the melted butter.
- Bake filo for 5 minutes or until it gets a golden color all over on top.
- Remove from the oven and spread the cream evenly on top.
- Add the remaining filo sheets exactly the same way as you did for the base. You may tear a filo sheet apart in order to fill empty spaces.
- Drizzle remaining butter on top.
- Bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until filo looks crispy and deep golden in color.
- Set pastry aside for 10-15 minutes.
- Dust with plenty of icing sugar and cinnamon. Ready to cut and serve!
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