If you’ve been to Greece, chances are you’ve tried bougatsa. Maybe for breakfast one morning before hitting the beach? Or after stumbling upon a small bakery with a batch of pies fresh out of the oven? Bougatsa is the one with the fyllo pastry wrapped around a thick creamy white custard, with icing sugar and cinnamon sprinkled on top. It’s good. It’s very very good.
Luckily there’s a way to make it easily, without faffing around with buttering flimsy sheets of pastry that dry out if not kept under a damp towel, etc etc. Some people call it the lazy woman’s bougatsa. I’m not sure about you, but any recipe with the words “the lazy woman’s…” in its title, is going to get my attention.
This particular recipe is ridiculously easy. I should say dangerously easy, as whipping up a dish of this bougatsa with such little effort could mean ill-fitting jeans are in your imminent future. And it keeps well in the fridge; in fact it gets better during the two days after it’s baked. However, I have very kindly made a small batch here, so it shouldn’t do too much damage. Unless you make it every two days!
Easy Bougatsa (Greek Custard Pie)
250gr fyllo pastry
125gr butter, melted
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
icing sugar and cinnamon for dusting
1. Lightly grease a rectangular baking dish (mine is 25x16cm) and preheat your oven to 180C. Take each sheet of pastry and gather it/bunch it up widthways. Put one sheet next to the other in the dish, bunched up. (If this doesn’t make much sense you can check the pictures in the original recipe here, and also here.)
2. Drizzle the melted butter over the pastry in the dish. Pop it in the oven and bake for about 10 minutes or until it starts to go a golden colour.
3. While the fyllo is baking, beat the eggs lightly and add the milk, sugar and vanilla. Whisk until smooth. Pour the egg mixture over the half-baked fyllo. Move the dish a bit so it’s distributed evenly and return it to the oven.
4. Bake for another 20-30 minutes, or until golden. Let it cool slightly.
5. To serve, sprinkle with icing sugar and cinnamon. I did that separately for each portion at the time of serving. Store it in the refrigerator but it’s best served warm (about 15 seconds in the microwave will do the trick nicely for each individual piece).
Note: If you want a proper sized bougatsa pie, double all the ingredients execpt the eggs, of which you will need 5.