my love for bougatsa

started on a very hung over morning in Thessaloniki! having enjoyed the hospitality of friends the night before a little too much we went on the hunt for food. The city is renowned for this sweet custard like pastry and it was over a coffee in a little suburb of the town that I fell in love! it definitely helped with the hang-over as I felt my sugar levels had reached an all time high but it was well worth it.

So on a rainy Saturday back in Paxos I decided to try my hand at it. I used a recipe from the book ‘the real greek at home’ by Theodore Kyriakou and Charles Campion.

I made the custard filling first, this can be made the day before and kept in the fridge as the pastry should be enjoyed warm out of the oven and I was planning to treat friends to a slice over coffee the following day.

1 vanilla pod (split and remove seeds)

325ml full fat milk

325 double cream

finely grated orange zest

3 egg yolks

175g caster sugar

70g semolina

In a saucepan add the milk, cream, vanilla seeds and orange zest, warm but don’t boil.


In a bowl whisk the yolks and sugar until fluffy, gradually add the warmed milk mixture. Add the semolina and continue to whisk slowly.

In the recipe it said to place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and continue to whisk, I found it easier to put it all in a pan and continue to whisk until it was a custard like consistency, about 5 minutes.

Cool then refrigerate.

Pastry part

150g melted butter

6 filo sheets (the recipe said 12 but I used 6 and folded them over)

Icing sugar and cinnamon

Pre-heat the oven to 180c

To assemble the pie, I used a large baking tin that I buttered well.

I found it easier to butter each sheet and then lay it loosely in the tin, do the same for the other sheets and lay them on top of each other. You do use so much butter, I could actually feel my hips grow with each layer!! add the custard filling to the middle of the pan and then wrap it together

Butter the top, score and sprinkle with water, bake for 30 minutes.

Once out of the oven sprinkle with icing sugar and cinnamon.

So today the weather is incredible, bright blue skies although windy and I took the pie with me to share over coffee, a very happy girl.

About OffSeasonPaxos

For all those that love the island of Paxos
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4 Responses to my love for bougatsa

  1. Renate Sack says:

    Thank you, Sam! It sounds very, very tasty.

  2. Caroline says:

    Hi you wouldn’t perhaps be able to post Akis recipe for spaghetti carbonara on your blog, please? We visited Paxos in Sept 2015 and my kids are still talking about their best ever carbonara dinner there. Thanks from Sydney, Australia

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