Thursday, August 9, 2012

Bougatsa: Eating Dessert For Dinner, . . .

Ahhh, big sigh.  Bougatsa.  One of my very favorite Greek desserts, made with phyllo dough and custard.  As a child, I spent many summers in Greece.  Some mornings my Dad would drive down to the center of town and bring back fresh Bougatsa.   We would devour it for breakfast.  Now, as an adult, when I go to the Island, I still go back to that same cafe my Dad went to and enjoy some of this delicious sweet.

My dad was born on the Island of Lesvos, much known for Sappho and her school of women, which is where the word Lesbian originates from.  Yes, my Dad is a tried and true Lesbian.  As a lot of you know, my greek heritage is a large part of me, and also an inspiration for many a blog post, particularly in regards to food.  So, back to Bougatsa.  Mmmmm.  Can you tell I'm salivating?

Today I had the pleasure of hanging out with my Dad and his girlfriend, Vangilitsa.  She is a great cook and in order to expand my Greek food repertoire, a while back I asked her to teach me how to make Bougatsa.  Today we finally got around to it and I was surprised at how easy it was, don't be afraid to give it a try, . . .


4 eggs
1 cup of sugar
5 cups of milk
A piece of lemon peel (about the size of a silver dollar)
1 cup of semolina flour
1/2 stick butter
1 pack of phyllo dough
Powdered sugar and cinnamon (for sprinkling on top)

The Custard:
1) Beat eggs in a bowl, add sugar and beat some more till well mixed and slightly bubbly.

2) Pour Milk into a medium sized pot, add lemon peel.  Heat till hot, but not boiling. 

3) Add Semolina flour and stir stir stir!  Keep stirring till thickened (like the consistency of polenta).

4) Slowly add the eggs and sugar to the pot, don't stop stirring.  The custard will form. 

5) Pull it off the heat and keep stirring till custard settles a bit.

To Assemble:
1) Pre-heat oven to 355 degrees
2) Melt butter
3) Center one layer of phyllo down in a 9x13 inch square pan, let phyllo dough come up and over the edge of the pan.
4) Brush the layer with melted butter
5) Do steps 3 and 4 five times
6) Put custard filling on top of phyllo layers and spread evenly.
7) Fold the edges of dough over filling. 
8) Lay five buttered layers of phyllo dough on top of filling
9) Trim edges, but leave enough dough to push down the side of custard to encase filling.
6) Cut portion lines with a knife
7) Bake for 40 minutes
8) Sprinkle with powdered sugar and cinnamon.
9) Enjoy!

Of course we munched on some after it came straight out of the oven, and, unfortunately for my waste, Vangilitsa insisted that I take a generous portion home with me.  Typical Greek.  How could I resist?  Anyway, after the long day that I had; 2 Dr.s appointments (1 for a kid, 1 for a cat), hubby being out of town, toting kids everywhere, grocery store, pharmacy, doing dishes, cleaning, bla bla bla), I found myself digging into this delicious dessert once again as I scrambled to get cats and dogs fed and clean up the days mess.  Although I don't make it a common practice, today I quite enjoyed eating my dessert for
 dinner.  Why not?  You only live once!  

Ευχαριστώ Vangilitsa!  

1 comment:

  1. I can't believe you are just giving away a family recipe like this. It looks amazing! I am saving this for sure and adding semolina flour and phyllo dough to my grocery list!