Bougatsa with Semolina Pastry Cream
Bougatsa has its origins from the Byzantine period (before the fall of the city in 1453), when Constantinople was still Greek and was famous for its plakountes, which meant flat and when these were later taken by the Romansu00c2u00a0 were called placentae.u00c2u00a0 The word bougatsa is also connected with focaccia, as mentioned in Ottoman dictionaries but if you read about focaccia you will see that facaccia had its origins from the Ancient Greeks.u00c2u00a0 Bougatsa originally began as a dough which was stuffed with different fillings.u00c2u00a0u00c2u00a0 Bougatsa dough then evolved into a hand made phyllo which was rolled out up to a certain extent and then it was tossed in the air and becomes very thin.u00c2u00a0 It is then stretched further on the counter and is used to makeu00c2u00a0 pastries which are called bougatses and these canu00c2u00a0 be either sweet oru00c2u00a0 savory.u00c2u00a0u00c2u00a0 It can be made with a sweet semolina cream or the savory ones with feta cheese, with minced meat, with spinach, with potato etc.u00c2u00a0 u00c2u00a0u00c2u00a0 Bougatses started being produced in Greece when Greek refugees from Turkey came here and a lot of them settled in Northern Greece. u00c2u00a0u00c2u00a0 It became a speciality in the towns of Serres and Thessaloniki, in Northern Greece but because of their popularity,u00c2u00a0 you can now find them all over Greece in shops calledu00c2u00a0 «u00ceu009cu00cfu0080u00ceu00bfu00cfu0085u00ceu00b3u00ceu00b1u00cfu0084u00cfu0083u00ceu00bfu00cfu0080u00cfu0089u00ceu00bbu00ceu00b5u00ceu00afu00ceu00b1» (pr. Bougatsopolia) which sell only bougatses.
Bougatses are also sold in small fast food shops selling all types of pastries such as tyropites (cheese pies), spanakopites (pl. for spanakopita), loukankopites (sausages pies), piroshkis, peinirli etc.
Bougatsa with Feta
This version of bougatsa calls for store bought phyllo dough, similar to the one used for baklavas or galatomboureko.u00c2u00a0 Bougatsa has a filling similar to galaktomboureko and when baked, instead of adding syrup, it is sliced and served warm, sprinkled with icing s sugar and cinnamon.
Why we should write «phyllo» and not «filo» or «fillo»
You may be wondering why I have been writing the word «phyllo» in Greeku00c2u00a0 u00cfu0086u00cfu008du00ceu00bbu00ceu00bbu00ceu00bf, which means leaf or sheet, in this way.u00c2u00a0 This is the correct way it should be written because as a ruleu00c2u00a0 Greek words with the letter «u00cfu0086» (ef = f) when written in Latin or later in English, should be written with «ph» example pharmacy, phaenomenon, photography etc., also the letter «u00cfu0085» (ypsilon = y) called by the Romans » y Graecum» and by the French «y Greque», should be written with Y and not with an «i» example, hygiene, hypothesis, hymne, etc., the letter «h» in front of the «y»u00c2u00a0u00c2u00a0 which marked that it was accented with daseia, e.g. u00e1u00bdu0091u00ceu00bcu00ceu00bdu00e1u00bfu00b6 =u00c2u00a0 hymn ( a mark or symbol whichu00c2u00a0 have unfortunately been abolished when the Greek language was simplified in 1976 but it is a symbol similar to the French accent grave, to indicate the vocal quality to be given to a particular letter).
Bougatsa (Phyllo Pastry with sweet cream)
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Baking time: 45 minutes
500 grams phyllo (12 sheets)
100 grams vegetable fat or butter, melted (about 1/3 cup)
5 cups milk
1 tablespoon mixed citrus with bergamot (but lemon zest can also be used )
1 cup sugar
1 1/3 cups fine semolina
2 tablespoons butter
Cinnamon and icing sugar to sprinkle on top
Beat the eggs in a bowl and set aside.
Heat the milk, together with sugar, citrus rind, vanilla and butter, until the butter melts.u00c2u00a0 Add the semolina and start mixing with a balloon whisk. u00c2u00a0u00c2u00a0Add the eggs gradually, mixing continuously, until incorporated and continue mixing until the cream thickens.u00c2u00a0 Cover the cream with cling film and set aside until the cream cools.
Preheat the oven at 180u00ceu00bf C / 350o F.
Melt the butter and brush a 28 cm round baking tin (a bigger one would be preferable) or a rectangular 33 x 23 cm Pyrex. u00c2u00a0u00c2u00a0Brush each phyllo with butter and place it in the baking tin. u00c2u00a0u00c2u00a0When half of the phyllos have been added, add the cream which should reach 1 1/2 – 2 cm high, the most.u00c2u00a0 Fold each phyllo that overlaps the pan over the custard, brushing it again with butter.u00c2u00a0 Add the remaining sheets on top, folding the excess phyllo and brushing it again with butter.u00c2u00a0 Trim the last sheet to the size of the baking tin and using a sharp knife score it without reaching the cream.u00c2u00a0 Spray the top lightly with water.
Bake for 40 – 45 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
Serve while still warm sprinkling lots of icing sugar and cinnamon on top.
Making bougatsa with homemade phyllo is not an easy job but although I do not have the skills to toss the phyllo in the air, I have managed to make it with a very good result.u00c2u00a0 The picture below is with homemade bougatsa phyllo but if you want to see more details you can see them in my other blog Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!, which will be my new blog to showcase Cypriot recipes and recipes included in the cookbook, made with a twist.
I am linking this recipe to Ancutza, of Matrioska’s Adventure, for her event Ricette con la pasta fillo.
Kopiaste and Kali Orexi!