What is Bougatsa? It is a favorite Greek street food and snack, bougatsa in Greece is traditionally made with puff pastry before being folded over the custard filling. I have seen it made with store bought phyllo dough which is fine, but it is not really authentic. In my opinion and I have been all over Greece, I believe that the island of Corfu in the North Western part of Greece makes the best, but I could be bias since that is where my family comes from. Watch this Video from Corfu on how they actually make bougatsa. I acutally had it from this place. The line in the morning goes around the block. It has a creamy custard filling and is sliced and served slightly warm or at room temperature, sprinkled with confectioner's sugar and cinnamon, it is Greek comfort food at its finest. I happen to use the puff pastry recipe from the fame, Chef Michael Richards. I always get good result and use this recipe for all my puff pastry needs. Just follow his recipe below and you should have success.
The filling recipe comes from my blog friend, Rodoula. This is her mothers recipe. Rodoula, thank you so much for sharing!! It is easy and delicious. I love bougatsa for breakfast with a strong Greek Coffee, heaven!!!
Puff Pastry by Chef Michael Richards
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/4 cups ice water
4 sticks (1 pound) very cold unsalted butter
Makes 2 1/2 pounds of dough
Mixing the Dough: Put all-purpose flour, cake flour, and salt in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse just to mix. Add water all at once, pulsing until dough forms a ball on the blade. Remove dough from machine, form into a ball, and slash the top in a tic-tac-toe pattern, with a small sharp knife. Wrap dough in a damp towel and refrigerate 5 minutes.
Incorporating the Butter: Place butter between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and beat with a rolling pin until it flattens into a 1 inch thick square. Unwrap the chilled dough and place it on a work surface dusted with all-purpose flour. Roll into a 10-inch square. Starting from the center of the square, roll out over each corner to create a thick center pad with “ears” or flaps. Place the cold butter in the middle of the dough and fold ears over butter, stretching as needed so they overlap slightly and encase butter completely. It should be about 8 inches square.
Making the Turns: Gently but firmly press the rolling pin against the top and bottom edges of the square. Then, keeping the work surface and dough well floured, roll the dough into a rectangle that is three times as long as the square you started with, about 24 inches. (Don’t worry about the width of the rectangle; if you get the 24 inches, everything else will work itself out.) With this first roll, it is particularly important that the butter be rolled evenly along the length and width of the rectangle; check when you start rolling that the butter is moving along well, and roll a bit harder or more evenly, if necessary, to get a smooth, even dough-butter sandwich. With a pastry brush, brush off the excess flour from the top of the dough, and fold the rectangle up from the bottom and down from the top in thirds, like a business letter, brushing off the excess flour. You have completed one turn.
Rotate the dough so that the closed fold is to your left, like the spine of a book. Repeat the rolling and folding process, rolling the dough to a length of 24 inches and then folding in thirds. This is the second turn.
Chilling the Dough: If the dough is still cool and no butter is oozing out, you can give the dough another two turns now. If the condition of the dough is iffy, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes. Each time you refrigerate the dough, mark the number of turns you’ve completed. It is best to refrigerate the dough for 30 to 60 minutes between each set of two turns.
The total number of turns needed is six.
Butter Square on top of dough....
Pull dough over the butter on four sides......
Roll out into a rectangle.....
Fold over into thirds......follow instructions above....
Baked Bougatsa and finished off with confectioner's sugar and cinnamon.....
by Rodoula's Mom from Athens, Greece
1/2 cup of fine semolina
1/2 cup of sugar
4 cups milk
1 T. unsalted Butter
1 whole vanilla bean with seeds
In a bowl beat eggs, sugar and semolina. In a sauce pot add milk and split open vanilla bean pod scrap seeds out and place into sauce pot as well, bring milk to a gentle boil. Remove vanilla pod. Pour the hot milk slowly onto the egg, sugar and semolina mixture; whisking while gently incorporating milk to temper the eggs. Pour back into the sauce pot and stir until thick and creamy. Put butter into custard and stir until well incorporated. Place into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap so the custard does not form a skin. Refrigerate until completely cool.
Assembly: Cut a strip of pastry dough the size of a 2 by 5 rectangle. Roll out a rectangle, place about 3 T. of filling , spread filling out a little with the back of the spoon and roll up like a burrito. Make an egg wash and sprinkle with raw sugar (optional).
1 egg + 2 tsp. water. Mix well..use pastry brush...
Cut pastry dough into 2x5 piece and roll out to a rectangle 4x8
Place a few Tablespoons of filling and spread out with back of spoon. Fold burrito style.
Brush with egg wash and fold over flap.....
The folded filled bougatsa, seam side down.....
Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with raw sugar.....
Notice my sizes are not perfect, but who cares????
Place in a lightly sprayed pan with spray release.....
I lightly score the top with a sharp knife.
Do not go all the way through to the custard filling.
Bake in a 375 Degree oven for about 35 -45 minutes until golden brown. It may take longer to cook depending on size of bougatsa and oven heat. Keep a close eye the first time. Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar and cinnamon.
You can make them bigger or smaller, it is up to you....