Bougatsa is a golden, crispy, and creamy perfection! A traditional Greek dessert similar to galaktoboureko, but not soaked in syrup, this custard pie with phyllo is made with heavenly vanilla custard, wrapped in delicate phyllo pastry.
Drizzled with melted butter and garnished with icing sugar and cinnamon, bougatsa is a simply delectable treat for breakfast, with a coffee, as a delicious snack, or as a very filling dessert – unless you can limit yourself to a tiny slice.
Bougatsa has origins from the Byzantine period and began as a dough that was stuffed with numerous sweet and savoury fillings. Over time, the dish evolved to incorporate a thinly-rolled, handmade phyllo pastry.
The tradition of bougatsa-making really took off throughout Greece in the early 1920s, with the arrival of Greek refugees from Asia Minor who brought with them centuries-old pie baking traditions.
Follow this easy bougatsa recipe and give in to your cravings with the rich and creamy flavours of this unforgettable mediterranean delicacy.
Easy Bougatsa Custard Pie
- 1 package phyllo pastry sheets
- 200 g melted butter use the very best butter available
- 1 litre fresh milk
- 100 g sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 40 g cornstarch
- 4 large eggs
- icing sugar to cover top
- ground cinnamon to cover top
For the cream
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and cornstarch and set aside
- In a saucepan, add milk, sugar and vanilla extract
- Heat over a high heat until milk reaches boiling point
- Using a ladle, start pouring milk slowly into the egg mixture, while whisking constantly
- Incorporate half the milk into the eggs and then transfer the mixture back to the pot
- Put the saucepan back onto the stove and keep whisking until the cream mixture thickens
- Set the mixture aside
For the base
- Lay open the phyllo stack on your working surface
- Grease a 38x25cm baking dish with melted butter
- Take one phyllo sheet and crinkle it up together on one corner of the dish
- Repeat the process with 4 more phyllo sheets until you cover the whole bottom of the dish
- Drizzle each sheet using half of the melted butter
Bringing it together
- Preheat the oven to 180 °C
- Bake the phyllo for 5 minutes or until golden in colour
- Remove from the oven and add the cream, spreading the cream evenly over the phyllo using a spatula
- Add the remaining phyllo sheets exactly the same way as you did for the base – you may tear a phyllo sheet apart in order to fill empty spaces
- Spread remaining butter on top
- Bake for another 10-15 minutes until phyllo looks crispy and golden brown in colour
- Set aside for 10-15 minutes
- Let the bougatsa cool for a while before serving and dust with icing sugar and cinnamon
- Enjoy while still warm and serve with a big dollop of whipped cream or ice cream