Delightful Bougatsa: A Sweet Semolina Custard Pastry Recipe

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Bougatsa, a flaky pastry filled with a rich and creamy semolina custard, is a beloved breakfast and snack throughout Greece and beyond. This delightful treat offers a delightful textural contrast – the shattering phyllo dough gives way to a smooth and comforting semolina filling, leaving you wanting more with every bite.

While there are many variations of bougatsa, this recipe focuses on the classic semolina filling, perfect for those who want to experience the essence of this traditional dish. This guide will take you through the ingredients, detailed instructions, and nutritional breakdown of this delectable recipe, ensuring you can prepare restaurant-quality bougatsa at home.

Traditional Greek Bougatsa Recipe — Antoniou Fillo Pastry
Traditional Greek Bougatsa Recipe — Antoniou Fillo Pastry


For the Phyllo Dough:

  • 1 pound phyllo dough (around 40 sheets), thawed according to package instructions
  • For the Semolina Filling:

    ⅔ cup granulated sugar

  • ½ cup semolina flour
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
  • Pinch of salt

  • For Finishing Touches:

    1 stick unsalted butter, melted

  • Powdered sugar, for dusting (optional)

  • Directions:

    1. Prepare the Semolina Filling: In a large saucepan, whisk together the sugar, semolina flour, and milk until smooth. Heat the mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it begins to thicken. This will take approximately 10-15 minutes.

    2. Temper the Eggs: In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs. Once the semolina mixture thickens and begins to simmer, slowly whisk about a cup of the hot mixture into the eggs. This process, called tempering, prevents the eggs from scrambling when added to the hot liquid. Gradually whisk the tempered egg mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining semolina pudding.

    3. Flavor and Thicken: Reduce heat to low and continue cooking, whisking frequently, until the filling thickens considerably and reaches a consistency similar to thick custard. This will take another 5-7 minutes. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the cinnamon, vanilla extract, nutmeg (if using), and salt. Set the filling aside to cool slightly while you prepare the phyllo dough.

    4. Assemble the Bougatsa: Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Lightly grease a 9×13 inch baking dish. Carefully unfold the thawed phyllo dough and lay it flat on a clean work surface. Cover the dough with a damp kitchen towel to prevent it from drying out.

    5. Layer the Phyllo: Working with one sheet of phyllo dough at a time, brush the entire surface with melted butter. Gently fold the buttered sheet into thirds lengthwise. Transfer the folded phyllo strip to the prepared baking dish, arranging it in a neat coil, leaving some overhang on the sides. Repeat this process with 5-6 sheets of phyllo, creating the base layer for your bougatsa.

    6. Add the Filling: Pour the cooled semolina filling evenly over the phyllo base.

    7. Encase with Phyllo: Fold the overhanging phyllo dough strips from the sides over the filling, tucking them in gently. Brush the top layer of phyllo with melted butter.

    8. Optional Top Layer: If desired, use the remaining phyllo sheets to create a final top layer. Brush each sheet generously with melted butter as you fold and layer them on top of the filling.

    9. Bake to Golden Perfection: Bake the bougatsa for 45-50 minutes, or until the phyllo dough is golden brown and flaky.

    10. Cool and Serve: Remove the bougatsa from the oven and allow it to cool slightly before cutting into squares or slices. Serve warm or at room temperature, dusted with powdered sugar for an extra touch of sweetness (optional).

    Nutritional Facts (Per Serving):

    Calories: 450 (approx.)

  • Fat: 25g (approx.)
  • Saturated Fat: 15g (approx.)
  • Cholesterol: 200mg (approx.)
  • Sodium: 200mg (approx.)
  • Carbohydrates: 45g (approx.)
  • Sugar: 30g (approx.)
  • Protein: 10g (approx.)

  • Note: These nutritional values are estimates and may vary depending on the specific ingredients used and portion size.