• by XpatAthens
  • Friday, 20 February 2015
Mmmmm….. Bougatsa
Maybe some of you occasionally have bougatsa for breakfast. Have you ever wondered what bougatsa is? History claims that ancients Greeks used to make pies with every kind of filling called "placountas". Years went by and bougatsa stayed popular in Constantinoupolis and Smyrna. Bougatsa in Turkish means pie filled with cream and topped with sugar powder and cinnamon powder. After the destruction of Smyrna and the exchange of the Greek-Turkish colonies, bougatsa became extremely popular in north Greece and especially Thessaloniki.
We love eating bougatsa early in the morning or really late at night after bouzoukia or clubbing. And I hope you love it too!
You could say that it looks like any kind of cream pie that you tried. But it isn't. There is also a big debate—Athens thinks bougatsa is just an ordinary pie filled with cheese or cream. But Thessaloniki knows the secret. The pastry is made differently and tastier than the ordinary cheese pies.

Here is the recipe for you to try.

• Serves: 10 slices
• Prep Time: 15 minutes
• Total Time: 50 minutes


• 6 cups milk
• grated rind of 1 lemon (optional)
• 1 1/2 cups sugar
• 1/2 cup melted butter
• 3/4 cups fine semolina
• Confectioner’s sugar
• 3 eggs
• cinnamon
• 1 tsp vanilla
• pastry sheets


Beat the eggs in a bowl with the sugar until creamy. Mix in the semolina. Slowly add the milk while beating continuously. Pour the mixture into a medium sized pot and add the lemon rind (if you are using it) and the vanilla. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Be careful that the mixture doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot and burn. When it has thickened, remove the pot from the heat, set aside and cover with a lid so 'skin' doesn't form over it.

Take 4 pastry sheets and lay them out on a counter on top of each other. Cut the pastry into 4 quarters - cross wise so you have 16 equal rectangles (1). Brush each fillo rectangle with butter and put to one side.

Take one whole pastry sheet and lay it out. Brush it over with butter. Place 2 of the cut rectangles in the center of the bottom half of the sheet to form a base.(2) Spoon 2 or 3 tablespoons of the cream filling into the center of the base. Fold the pastry on the long sides of the base and the shorter end into the center, enclosing the cream filling, then carefully fold the rest of the pastry over and over into a neat package shape.(3, 4 & 5) Use butter, brushed on the pastry sides and ends as a' glue' to hold the fillo down. You can fold them as small or large as you like. Repeat this procedure to make more Bougatses until the cream and fillo are used up.

Arrange the finished Bougatses on a buttered cookie sheet, and brush them with more butter. Bake at 350°F for about 35 minutes or until the pastry is flaky and golden. When done, remove them from the oven and sprinkle them with powdered sugar and cinnamon.