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Cooking + Entertaining

Bougatsa: the recipe for a crispy Greek dessert with a creamy heart

Bougatsa: the recipe for a crispy Greek dessert with a creamy heart

There bougatsa is a typical sweet from the greek tradition, but also Turkish, characterized by a crispy shell of phyllo dough and a pastry cream filling. The outer casing is made by layering several layers of butter-dusted phyllo dough, for a golden, crumbly result.

The filling consists of a soft and delicate pastry cream made from milk and semolina, flavored with lemon zest. Once ready, the bougatsa is sprinkled with icing sugar and cinnamon: it is generally eaten in breakfastbut it is also excellent as a dessert after a meal, thanks to its unctuous and irresistible texture.

There is even a salty version, stuffed with cheese or minced meat. For the success of the dessert, it is important to handle the filo pastry with care, especially if you use a frozen one: they are, in fact, thin and delicate sheets that could break during preparation.

You can buy phyllo dough ready yet for more practicality or, alternatively, you can prepare it at home following our recipe. Serve the bougatsa during the day, to keep its crispy and flaky crust. If you wish, you can replace the lemon zest with the seeds of a vanilla pod.

If you liked this recipe, also try galaktoboureko and melopita.

How to prepare bougatsa

Pour the milk into a saucepan with the sugar and lemon zest 1. Turn on the fire, stirring, and wait for it to boil.

Sprinkle the semolina 2 and cook, stirring constantly over very low heat for about ten minutes, until the cream begins to thicken.

Remove the lemon zest and pour the cream into a large bowl 3.

Cover with contact film 4 and let cool.

Line a 20×30 cm mold with a sheet of parchment paper, then place the first sheet of filo pastry at the bottom and brush it with melted butter (5). Proceed in the same way by superimposing 3 other sheets of filo.

Leave the excess batter you will need for the closure to overflow and fill with the cream 6.

Cover the dessert with 4 more sheets of phyllo dough, buttered and overlapping. Then fold the edges, also buttered, inwards and cut the cake, describing 12 portions 7.

Bake in a static oven preheated to 180°C for about 40 minutes, or in any case until golden brown. Then take it out and let it cool 8.

Sprinkle the bougatsa with icing sugar mixed with cinnamon, cut and serve 9.


You can store bougatsa for A day maximum, possibly out of the refrigerator, otherwise the phyllo dough will lose its crispness.

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