Bougatsa (Greek Cream-Filled Phyllo Pastries)

Want more from Genius Kitchen?

Watch on your Apple TV, Roku, or Fire TV and your iOS, Fire, or Android device.

Learn More
“You can buy these at every corner bakery in Greece and there are other, smaller shops that specialize in this pastry as well, so we don't actually have to make our own. This recipe is from when I lived in Canada and HAD to have one! This looks like a long recipe, but it really isn't. I just gave very detailed instructions on how to fold the pastry up properly to enclose the custard filling.”
8-10 custard pastries (bougatsa)

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Beat eggs until frothy; beat in sugar until thick and foamy, about 4 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Heat milk in medium pot until hot but not boiling.
  3. Remove from heat and whisk into egg mixture in a thin stream until all the milk mixture is used up – never stop whisking.
  4. Pour custard mixture back into pot and set on medium-low heat; cook, stirring constantly, about 3-4 minutes.
  5. Gradually sprinkle in semolina, letting it flow out of your hand in a thin stream; add a pinch of salt.
  6. Reduce heat to very low, cook, stirring constantly, until thick and smooth, about 5-6 minutes. Whisk in pieces of cut up butter, incorporating completely into the semolina custard.
  7. Remove, place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard and cool completely.
  8. When cool, stir in juice, lemon zest and vanilla.
  9. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  10. Unroll one sheet of phyllo, keeping remainder covered with dampened kitchen towel.
  11. Place on a work surface, with narrow end facing you.
  12. Brush lightly with melted butter.
  13. Place 3 tbsp of custard on lower 1/3 of phyllo.
  14. Using a thin, flexible spatula, spread custard into a wide rectangle, approximately 10x5 inches, nearly covering lower third of phyllo.
  15. Fold right and left sides of phyllo towards center so that edges just meet; lightly brush folded sides with butter.
  16. Fold lower third up and brush with butter.
  17. Fold upper third down and brush with butter.
  18. It should now look like an envelope.
  19. Place on a lightly buttered baking sheet and repeat envelope-making procedure 7-9 more times (depending on how many bougatsa you are making).
  20. Brush tops of bougatsa with any remaining butter and bake until golden-brown, about 15-18 minutes.
  21. Let cool 20 minutes before serving.
  22. Serve warm, dusted with icing sugar (you should see a coating of the icing sugar) and cinnamon.

Watch more

Join the Conversation

  • all
  • reviews
  • tweaks
  • q & a