Greek Bougatsa recipe (Custard Pie with Phyllo and ground Cinnamon)

Greek Bougatsa recipe (Custard Pie with Phyllo and ground Cinnamon)

Golden and creamy perfection! Bougatsa (Greek custard pie with phyllo) is a traditional Greek dessert made with the most creamy custard wrapped in golden brown crispy phyllo, sprinkled with melted butter and garnished with icing sugar and cinammon.. Simply amazing! A traditional Greek dish, perfect for every time of the day, as a delicious snack or as a filling dessert.

Follow our step by step Greek Bougatsa recipe and recreate this traditional sweet delight from scratch! Enjoy while still warm with a last minute sprinkle of icing sugar and cinammon.

Greek Bougatsa recipe (Custard Pie with Phyllo and Cinnamon)

Make the perfect homemade Bougatsa the traditional Greek way!

The key to make the most flavourful Greek Bougatsa is to use a good quality fresh butter to butter the phyllo sheets. The authentic Greek Bougatsa recipe calls for ‘galaktos’ butter made from cow’s milk, which gives a very rich flavour and amazing smell!

Tip: When preparing phyllo based Greek desserts, like this Bougatsa recipe, a little trick to make the phyllo crispier and flakier is to sprinkle the melted butter over the phyllo sheets, rather than brushing them.

Working with phyllo can be tricky as its brittle and can dry out very quickly, so check the handling tips before start preparing this Bougatsa recipe. Don’t forget to brush the top of the bougatsa with enough butter and scar with a knife to help release the steam.

Bougatsa (Greek Custard Pie) Key Ingredients

Pie ingredients: Along with phyllo dough, you’ll want some melted butter, sugar, milk and all-purpose flour. You will also need eggs and some vanilla extract.

Topping: The topping is made from icing sugar and ground cinnamon.

Greek Bougatsa ingredients

Greek Bougatsa – Key Preparation Tips

There are three main steps involved with this recipe:

  1. Make the filling
  2. Make the nougats pie
  3. Cook and serve

Make the filling for the bougatsa 

To create this delightful traditional bougatsa recipe, begin by preparing the filling. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, eggs, and flour, whisking until the ingredients are well blended.

In a saucepan, combine the milk and vanilla extract and heat until boiling. Just before it reaches boiling point, pour one-third of this mixture into the flour mixture from Step 1 and stir well.

Reduce the heat. Incorporate the flour and milk mixture into the saucepan along with the remaining warm milk. Vigorously whisk until the mixture thickens, becoming velvety and smooth. Ensure the pan remains on the stove throughout the whisking process. This should typically take about 2-3 minutes.

Take the pan off the stove and give it an occasional stir to prevent the custard from developing a skin on top as you continue with the remaining steps of the bougatsa recipe.

Greek Bougatsa - prepare Custard

Make the bougatsa pie 

To make this delicious bougatsa recipe, you’ll require a generously-sized baking tray, approximately 20×30 cm / 8×12 inch in dimensions. Using a pastry brush, generously coat the bottom and sides of the tray with butter.

Begin by unrolling the phyllo dough from its plastic sleeve. For the bougatsa recipe, you will require around 10 to 12 sheets of phyllo. Utilize approximately 5 to 6 sheets for the bottom layer of the bougatsa and another 4 to 5 sheets for the top.

Greek Bougatsa recipe (Custard Phyllo pie with ground Cinnamon)

To start, place the sheets one by one at the base of the tray, generously drizzling melted butter over each layer.

Pour in the custard from step 4, using a spatula to even out the surface.

Greek Bougatsa recipe (Custard Pie with Phyllo)Layer the bougatsa with 4-5 phyllo sheets, generously brushing each sheet with melted butter. If desired, trim any excess phyllo with a knife and roll the edges. Apply a generous amount of butter on top and use a sharp knife to score the bougatsa.

Greek Bougatsa(Custard Pie with Phyllo and ground Cinnamon)

Cook and serve

Place the bougatsa in a preheated oven at 160C / 320F and let it bake for 45 minutes until the phyllo becomes delightfully crisp and turns a beautiful golden brown.

Allow the bougatsa to cool for a short while before serving. Sprinkle it with a dusting of icing sugar and a hint of cinnamon. Savor its warmth alongside a steaming cup of coffee or tea.

Greek Bougatsa (Custard Pie with Phyllo and ground Cinnamon)

 

Can I use instant custard instead of making my own?

When it comes to homemade custard, the fresh and authentic flavor is truly unmatched. The process of carefully selecting the ingredients, combining them with love, and patiently cooking it to perfection creates a delightful experience for your taste buds.

On the other hand, while instant custard can be a convenient option when time is scarce, it may not quite capture the same level of richness and creaminess that you can achieve with a homemade recipe. The velvety smoothness and luscious texture of homemade custard truly make it a treat worth savoring.

Greek Bougatsa recipe

What if my phyllo dough rips while I’m working with it?

Don’t worry if your phyllo tears a bit – it’s quite delicate. However, fear not! You can easily patch it up with another perfectly thin and crisp piece of phyllo, seamlessly blending it into the recipe.

The layers and folds of this delectable pastry will artfully conceal any minor rips and tears, ensuring a flawless and visually stunning presentation.

Variations

There are various ways to add a unique twist to the traditional Greek Bougatsa Recipe:

  1. Chocolate Bougatsa: Substitute some of the custard filling with a rich chocolate ganache or spread. This will create a wonderful contrast of flavors and is perfect for chocolate lovers.
  2. Fruit Bougatsa: Add a layer of finely chopped fresh fruits or fruit compote between the custard and phyllo layers. Berries, apples, peaches, or cherries would all work well.
  3. Cheese Bougatsa: Replace the custard with a mixture of feta and ricotta cheese for a savory version of this Greek classic. You can also add some fresh herbs like dill or mint to enhance the flavor.
  4. Nutty Bougatsa: Sprinkle some finely chopped nuts like almonds, pistachios, or walnuts over the custard before adding the top phyllo layers. This will add a nice crunchy texture to the dessert.
  5. Vegan Bougatsa: For a vegan version, use a plant-based milk to make the custard and replace butter with a vegan alternative. There are also vegan phyllo dough options available on the market.

Love a creamy dessert?

If you love a creamy, milky dessert as much as I do, these recipes are made for you!

So go ahead, try out this delicious traditional Greek bougatsa recipe and amaze your friends and family with this crispy and velvety delight. Enjoy!

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Greek Bougatsa recipe (Custard Pie with Phyllo and ground Cinnamon)

Greek Bougatsa recipe (Custard Pie with Phyllo and ground Cinnamon)

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  • Author: Eli K. Giannopoulos
  • Prep Time: 35 min
  • Cook Time: 45 min
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 8-10 portions 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Greek

Description

The authentic greek bougatsa recipe! A traditional Greek dessert made with the most creamy custard wrapped in golden brown crispy phyllo, sprinkled with melted butter and garnished with icing sugar and cinammon.. Simply amazing!


Ingredients

Scale

For the bougatsa

  • 400450 g phyllo dough (15 oz)
  • 200 g butter, melted (7 oz)
  • 200 g sugar (7 oz)
  • 1 kg milk (35 oz)
  • 120 g all-purpose flour (4.5 oz)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the topping

  • ground cinnamon
  • icing sugar


Instructions

  1. To make this traditional bougatsa recipe, start by making the filling. To prepare the filling for the bougatsa add in a large bowl the sugar, eggs and flour; whisk until the ingredients combine.
  2. Pour into a saucepan the milk and the vanilla extract and bring to the boil. Right before the milk comes to the boil, pour 1/3 of the milk & vanilla extract mix into the flour mixture from step 1 and stir.
  3. Turn the heat down. Add the flour & milk mixture into the saucepan with the remaining warm milk. Whisk very quickly, until the mixture has thickened and is smooth and creamy. Do not remove the pan from the stove while whisking. This should take 2-3 minutes.
  4. Remove the pan from the stove and stir occasionally to keep the custard from forming a skin on top, while you prepare the rest of the bougatsa recipe.
  5. For this bougatsa recipe you will need a large baking tray, approx. 20×30 cm / 8×12 inch. Using a pastry brush, butter the bottom and sides of the tray.
  6. Unroll the phyllo dough from the plastic sleeve. To make this bougatsa recipe you will need 10-12 phyllo sheets. Use 5-6 sheets of phyllo for the bottom of the bougatsa and 4-5 sheets for the top.
  7. Begin by layering the sheets one by one on the bottom of the tray, making sure to sprinkle each one thoroughly with melted butter. Tip in the custard from step 4, smoothing the surface with a spatula and fold the phyllo sheet flaps over the custard.
  8. Cover the bougatsa with 4-5 phyllo sheets, sprinkling each sheet with melted butter. With a knife trim some of the excessive phyllo, if you like, and roll the rest on the edges. Brush the top with plenty of butter and score the top of the bougatsa with a sharp knife.
  9. Bake the bougatsa in preheated oven at 160C / 320F for 45 minutes, until the phyllo is crisp and golden brown.
  10. Let the bougatsa cool down for a while before serving and sprinkle with icing sugar and cinnamon. Enjoy while still warm with a hot cup of coffee or tea.

Recipe image gallery:


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20 Comments

  1. Hi I am wondering if you know of a greek pastry Ceam filled and made in squares that sounds like melfay melvay I had it years ago at a little greek resteraunt they came from greece stayed for about 5 years and were exceptionally GOOD and reasonable. They t!hen went home to greece. I just loved it.I have been trying for years to find it’ When I asked what it was the mother who baked it call Melfay or sounds like it? Thank you Gayle

    • You’re talking about Mille-feuille (FRENCH word) Also known as Napoleon. It’s delicious. Loads of recipes online. Hope you find what you’re looking for.

  2. Katherine Temperli

    Hi Gayle! I eat those darn milfays all the time, I’m heading to Greece on Tuesday I will look for a recipe and upon my return send it to you

  3. I’m going to have to say this: this website is going to ruin my weight loss effort!!! Best Greek recipes anywhere. Bougatsa is heaven on a plate and I’m going to try this with the leftover filo from the spanakopita I’m making for a meeting.

  4. My husband fell in love with bugatsa on a recent 3+ week to Greece. After sifting through a lot of recipes, yours looked the most like what I remember seeing. I used your recipe, substituting GL flour, and surprised my husband. He loved it! He was amazed that it tasted and looked exactly like the bugatsa he enjoyed all over Greece. Thank you!

  5. Cyd Miller

    Recipe step 7 uses C° temperature. F° equivalent is 325-°.

  6. yum! loved this. Great recipe!

  7. Kathy Vardakis

    My 86yo Dad who doesn’t usually say much said he felt like Bougatsa earlier this evening. I remembered seeing a recipe on your blog so I made it. It took no time at all and it was DELISH!!!!! Thank you x
    p.s. Dad loved it too:-)

  8. Noticed on bougasta recipe on doubling two kg of milk 35oz same as 1x recipe. Should milk be 70oz Also 20cm x 30cm for pan would that be 8×8? Thanks for info

    • Eli K. Giannopoulos

      Hi Irene

      Yes there was a bug with the recipe card – its indeed 70 oz. We’ve corrected it now so should be doubling correctly. Also a 20x30cm tray is about 8×12 inch.

  9. Hi,

    so is the filling warm when you fill it? is it better to put the filling in the fridge with a piece of gladwrap/plastic wrap touching the surface so it doesn’t create a film? just wondering if cold filling is easier to work with?

    Thanks!

  10. What are your tips for making it ahead and storing it in the fridge or freezer until you’re ready to bake? How do you ensure crispy phyllo when you’re ready to bake? Thank you! Love your recipes!!

  11. Can we make this the day before and leave it in the fridge to be baked the next day?

  12. Are you sure 1000ml of milk because if there is only 120g of milk its going to turn into water
    Please respond as soon as possible

  13. Aphrodite Georgelakos

    I’m curious about the flour. I have never heard anyone using flour in a traditional bougatsa. Traditionally Farina is used, which is like a cream of wheat. We are Greek and are surrounded by a very large Greek community and the flour is really throwing me off. But hope this recipe works for you guys.

  14. Laz Böreği is the Turkish name for this dessert which is most made in Northern East part of Türkiye among the minority group called Laz. I didn’t know its relation with Greece. I think after Pontus Greek State collapse, immigrants from this state taught bougatsa to Greece.

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