Bougatsa (Greek Cream-Filled Phyllo Pastries)

"You can buy these at every corner bakery in Greece and there are other, smaller shops that specialize in this pastry as well, so we don't actually have to make our own. This recipe is from when I lived in Canada and HAD to have one! This looks like a long recipe, but it really isn't. I just gave very detailed instructions on how to fold the pastry up properly to enclose the custard filling."
photo by kriszten88 photo by kriszten88
photo by kriszten88
photo by Leslie photo by Leslie
photo by Leslie photo by Leslie
photo by iLuv2cook 2 photo by iLuv2cook 2
Ready In:
8-10 custard pastries (bougatsa)




  • Beat eggs until frothy; beat in sugar until thick and foamy, about 4 minutes. Set aside.
  • Heat milk in medium pot until hot but not boiling.
  • Remove from heat and whisk into egg mixture in a thin stream until all the milk mixture is used up – never stop whisking.
  • Pour custard mixture back into pot and set on medium-low heat; cook, stirring constantly, about 3-4 minutes.
  • Gradually sprinkle in semolina, letting it flow out of your hand in a thin stream; add a pinch of salt.
  • Reduce heat to very low, cook, stirring constantly, until thick and smooth, about 5-6 minutes. Whisk in pieces of cut up butter, incorporating completely into the semolina custard.
  • Remove, place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard and cool completely.
  • When cool, stir in juice, lemon zest and vanilla.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Unroll one sheet of phyllo, keeping remainder covered with dampened kitchen towel.
  • Place on a work surface, with narrow end facing you.
  • Brush lightly with melted butter.
  • Place 3 tbsp of custard on lower 1/3 of phyllo.
  • Using a thin, flexible spatula, spread custard into a wide rectangle, approximately 10x5 inches, nearly covering lower third of phyllo.
  • Fold right and left sides of phyllo towards center so that edges just meet; lightly brush folded sides with butter.
  • Fold lower third up and brush with butter.
  • Fold upper third down and brush with butter.
  • It should now look like an envelope.
  • Place on a lightly buttered baking sheet and repeat envelope-making procedure 7-9 more times (depending on how many bougatsa you are making).
  • Brush tops of bougatsa with any remaining butter and bake until golden-brown, about 15-18 minutes.
  • Let cool 20 minutes before serving.
  • Serve warm, dusted with icing sugar (you should see a coating of the icing sugar) and cinnamon.

Questions & Replies

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  1. Wow!! I must say, I was afraid to make this recipe, it is only the second time I have ever worked with Phyllo and I was unsure of my abilities LOL! It turned out to be a delicious and easy recipe to make, and they came together great. I love the hint of lemon. I have never tried Bougatsa before and it was a taste treat. I will be making these again! Thanks for a great recipe Ev!
  2. EXCELLENT~ Really the BEST GREEK BOUGATSA I have ever made. This currently replaces my recipe! I actually made it in a pan and cut prior to baking! Very aromatic custard filling ~ Thanks for sharing a delicious recipe Ev.!
  3. I used to make these with yanni katotakis at j.k souvlaki on denman street in 1984...we used to put whole cinnamon sticks in the milk with zest of orange and lemon....also when they were cooked we would wrap in parchment paper and then tin foil to put in fridge or freezer then reheat in the oven whenever needed. Cheers Brian from Vancouver
  4. I love this greek pastry recipe! I used half and half in place of whole milk and increased the sugar just slightly, thanks for sharing this great recipe Ev!...Kitten:)
  5. Another one of the many fantastic recipes we learned from Evelyn in our private cooking class. It's easy once you overcome the fear of working with filo and they're even better the next morning with coffee. Victor and Debra Ruzich


<style>body { background: url(""); background-repeat: repeat-y; }</style> OK, here goes. I live in Athens, Greece. I moved out here many, many years ago from Ottawa, Canada - so I am blessed in having two wonderful heritages! I suffer from compulsive obsessive behaviour with regard to food and my psychiatrist thought it would be a good idea to find a 'society' where many have the same problem and try to find a cure. So far, I've copied a couple of thousand recipes from this site and my psychiatrist has thrown the towel in and refuses to answer the phone when I call. What did I do wrong? Got 3 kids that keep me on the go - 10 and under at this point (2008) - I may not get round to updating this for a few years, so you'll have to do your own maths. I teach English full-time and Greek Cookery part-time. I would like to make the cooking part of it full-time and the English Grammar part of it part-time. That's all for now.
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