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Holiday Cooking - Bougatsa



The holiday season is synonymous with food and family—I combine both by making family recipes. For the past couple of years, I have been obsessed with perfecting my homemade phyllo from scratch. I'll use it when I make our Bougatsa, a crowd-pleasing traditional pastry that transports me right back to Greece. In this blog post, we will guide you through the process of making Bougatsa from scratch, using a cherished family recipe (but with store bought phyllo for a quicker version.) Get ready to indulge in layers of flaky phyllo pastry and a creamy custard filling that will leave you craving for more.

Ingredients list

To make the custard for your Bougatsa, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 750gr whole milk
  • 180 gr granulated sugar
  • 70 gr semolina flour
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • 40 gr cold butter
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • Powder sugar and cinnamon for dusting

We will be using one store bought pack of Phyllo.


Now that you have gathered all the necessary ingredients, it's time to start making the custard for your Bougatsa. Follow these simple steps:

  1. In a saucepan, combine the whole milk and granulated sugar over medium heat and bring to boil.
  2. Add the semolina flour and wisp until the cream thickens.
  3. Once the mixture has thickened, remove the saucepan from the heat and add the vanilla extract, lemon zest and cold butter. Stir until the butter has melted and is fully incorporated.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks with a pinch of salt.
  5. Slowly pour the egg yolks into the saucepan while continuously whisking the mixture. This will prevent the eggs from scrambling.
  6. Remove the custard from the heat and transfer it to a bowl. Cover the custard with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour. Make sure the plastic wrap is in close contact with the custard to prevent the top from getting crusty while cooking.

Assembling the Bougatsa

Now that your custard is ready, it's time to assemble and bake the Bougatsa. Follow these steps:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F).
  2. Take a sheet of phyllo pastry and brush it with melted butter.
  3. Place another sheet of phyllo pastry on top and repeat the process until you have a stack of 5-6 sheets.
  4. Spoon the custard on top of the phyllo and continue adding the additional 5-6 sheets on top brushing each with butter.
  5. Once done, tuck the excess phyllo under and brush the top with more melted butter.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes, or until the phyllo pastry turns golden brown and crispy.
  7. Remove the Bougatsa from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes. Dust powder sugar and cinnamon on top before serving.

There you have it! A homemade Bougatsa that will impress your loved ones and transport them to the flavors of Greece. Serve it warm with a dusting of powdered sugar and a sprinkle of cinnamon for an authentic touch. Enjoy!