Bougatsa is one of the most traditional Greek pastries and the cause of much controversy between the north and south of Greece. You see, for the south there is only one type of Bougatsa, the one with a cream filling. For the north, Bougatsa is all about the filo pastry and the filling comes in many forms (cream, minced meat and other sweet or savory combinations).
You can say that today I’m showing you how to make a ‘lazy’ southern Greek Bougatsa. I’m saying lazy because I am not going to show you how to make the traditional filo pastry for Bougatsa. This demands a well trained person, loads of space in your kitchen and a large marble top to work on. In this recipe I'm using the usual filo pastry you can find in any supermarket. That way you can really have a delicious dessert in less than an hour.
4 cups of full fat milk
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup fine semolina
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
500gr filo pastry
2/3 cup melted butter
1) Heat the milk in a pan under low heat.
2) In another pan, melt ¼ cup butter and add the semolina, stirring well.
3) Add the milk little by little and keep on stirring vigorously until all the milk has been added. Be very careful not to add too much milk initially, as you may leave lumps of semolina which would be difficult to dilute.
4) Add the sugar and stir well under low heat. Bring to boil and keep stirring until a thick cream is formed.
5) Take off heat and let cream cool down a bit. Stir the cream frequently to avoid any crust forming on top.
6) Whisk the eggs and the egg yolks in a bowl and stir them in the cream, together with the vanilla extract.
7) Cover the surface of the cream with kitchen foil to avoid any crust forming.
8) Lightly grease a medium sized oven tray with melted butter and spread half of the filo pastry sheets, brushing each sheet with melted butter.
9) Add the cream and then spread the remaining filo pastry sheets, again brushing each one with melted butter.
10) Bake in the oven (200C) for about half an hour or until pastry is golden.
11) Serve warm, adding icing sugar and cinnamon
(NOTE: In Greece we also sprinkle the icing sugar and cinnamon directly on the cream, as it blends nicely and adds to the taste).