Béchamel sauce or white sauce has been taken from the French cuisine and introduced to Greek cuisine by Nicolaos Tselementes. It is used as a basic sauce to top Moussakas, Pastitsio and used in many other recipes.
To make this sauce you need an equal amount of butter or olive oil and flour which is made into a roux and then milk is added and flavoured with nutmeg.
The addition of eggs should be added carefully so as not to cook the eggs. They are whisked separately and added a little at a time, whisking continuously until they are incorporated.
How to make Béchamel cream
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Enough for one baking tin 35 x 30
1.5 litres of milk
1/2 cup olive oil (or olive oil based margarine)
1/2 cup flour
3 – 4 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup of grated halloumi, graviera, kefalotyri or dried myzithra cheese
Before starting, heat the milk and beat the eggs.
In a saucepan heat the olive oil and add the flour, salt and nutmeg and mix thoroughly using a whisk, until it starts to brown.
Add the warm milk, stirring constantly, until the sauce is thick and creamy.
Whisk the eggs and add a little at a time slowly and mixing until it is incorporated.
Remove from the heat and mix in the grated cheese.
If it becomes too thick add some more cold milk.
If it is too runny dissolve a tablespoon of corn flour (starch) with 1/4 cup of milk and stir until it sets.
To make béchamel healthier I always use olive oil instead of butter.
If you have cholesterol, instead of olive or butter use becel proactive margarine
Add less eggs or only egg whites
Add low fat , milk, low fat cheese or skip the cheese altogether
For dishes like moussakas and pastitsio, sprinkle some cinnamon on top.