A traditional Greek bougatsa is made with crisp phyllo pastry and filled with a silky custard, but that’s how I make my galaktoboureko. Some do fill their bougatsa with a Greek semolina custard, but I find it to be a little heavy with phyllo pastry. So I use puff pastry because it is light and flaky and fill it with my rosy semolina which compliment each other perfectly. If you would like the traditional version make my galaktoboureko but don’t add the syrup and sprinkle the top with icing sugar.
WHAT DOES MY GREEK BOUGATSA WITH A SEMOLINA CUSTARD TASTE LIKE?
The pastry is light and the filling is thick and creamy.
The addition of rose and mastic gives you that,
What is that flavour?
So you take another bite and you end up eating all of them. Because they are so delicious (“,)
As a kid my Mum used to make them this way so this is what I’ve grown up knowing. A bouugatsa to me is a small mini hand pie filled with a rosy mastic Greek semolina custard.
In Greek if you are referring to one bougatsa you call it a ‘bougatsa’. If you are referring to more than one then you say ‘bougatses’. I’m telling you this so if you see me write bougatses rather than bougatsa I’m talking about more than one bougatsa and it’s not a typo or something else (“,)
If you have had a bougatsa before you most probably had one with phyllo pastry. Seeing one made with puff pastry may seem a bit different, maybe a bit weird or not traditional at all. But to my family and I this way is tradition.
My Mum used to, well still does, use a block or two of puff pastry. She cuts a bit of puff pastry off, dusts her work surface, rolling pin and pastry with flour and rolls out her pastry until her pastry or filling runs out. I’ve done this a few times and boy is it labour intensive. But I wont let my laziness keep me away from a freshly baked bougatsa.
No, No, No!
I use pre-rolled puff pastry. All I have to do is unroll it and go straight to cutting my circles. No time wasting cutting, flouring and rolling.
Well, you do have to re-roll your scrapes after you cut your first batch of circles, but trust me it is nothing like rolling out from the start.
I use 2 sheets of pre-rolled puff pastry that are 320g each. A block of puff pastry does work out cheaper and I think you do get a few more bougatses out of it too. Use whatever is best for you. Just make sure if you use a block of puff pastry you roll it out to a thickness of 2-3mm so you have the perfect ratio of golden flaky pastry to thick semolina filling.
I mentioned above that some people add a traditional custard to their bougatsa like crème patissiere if you would like a quick and easy crème patissiere recipe click here. Some like myself add a semolina custard.
So what makes my Greek semolina custard better than the rest?
I’m glad you asked.
I add rose water. Just a splash, to give my custard a subtle floral taste.
My secret ingredient ‘mastixa’ in Greek or ‘mastic’ in English.
If you don’t know what mastic is, it is the dried gum of the mastic, or Pistacia lentiscus tree found on the Greek island of Chios.
It has a herbal, vanillery, pine taste. It’s kind of hard to describe but once you try it, the flavour will be one that you haven’t tasted before.
You can buy mastic in small chunks or ground. I’d suggest you buy the chunks and grind your mastic yourself because the ground one wont taste as fresh. If you are going to grind the mastic yourself use a pestal and mortar and add a pinch of sugar to your mortar so your mastic doesn’t stick.
When you make your Greek semolina custard all you have to do is throw everything into a pan and sir constantly until it thickens. Super simple. Check my video below to see what your Greek semolina custard should look like.
When your custard is cooked transfer it to a bowl to cool.
HOW TO MAKE GREEK BOUGATSA
My Mum has this little gadget she uses to get the perfect shaped pie. You use the base to cut your circle then you place your custard in the middle of your pastry, fold your gadget in half and the gadgets teeth seals your pastry giving you a perfectly shaped pie.
I know most of you wont have this gadget, so I’ve got the next best thing.
A cookie cutter (“,)
I use a 7.5cm wide cookie cutter and this gives me 30-32 bougatses with me having to re-roll my pastry once. If you want to have a bigger or smaller bougatsa just change the size of your cookie cutter.
Make sure you place your semolina custard in the center of your puff pastry circle so when you fold your pastry over to form a semi-circle your filling doesn’t spill out. I use about 1 1/2 teaspoons of semolina custard to each 7.5cm puff pastry circle. If your circles are smaller use less and if they are larger use a little more.
Brush your pastry circle edge with some beaten egg. I like to use one of my cake decorating brushes because they are thinner than the standard pastry brush, which I find to be too big and end up adding to much egg onto my pastry. Here are the brushes I use.
Then fold your pastry over to form a semi-circle. Push down gently and then go around the curved edge with a fork to seal your custard in.
Brush the top of your pastry with more beaten egg. Try not to add too much because it will make your bougatsa taste eggy.
HOW TO COOK GREEK BOUGATSA
I cook my bougatses on a floured baking tray. There is no need to use baking paper because the flour stops them sticking but it is your choice what you line your baking tray with.
I find my bougatsa with Greek semolina custard cooks in about 20 minutes, give or take a minute or two either side. It really depends on how long you have had your puff pastry out of the fridge. Just keep an eye on them and take them out when they are golden brown.
HOW TO STORE YOUR GREEK BOUGATSA WITH A GREEK SEMOLINA CUSTARD
The best time to eat my bougatsa with a Greek semolina custard is when they have just come out of the oven.
Let them cool for a few minutes first because the filling is hot and you will burn your tongue. Yes! I’ve done that many times. Because of greed. But when you try them you will understand their deliciousness just takes over (“,)
If you do have any left over, store them in an air tight container at room temperature. But if it is hot store them in an airtight container in the fridge.
Wherever you store them I suggest you reheat your bougatsa in the microwave for 10-20 seconds so your Greek semolina custard returns to it’s creamy dreamy self.
WHY YOU SHOULD MAKE MY BOUGATSA WITH A GREEK SEMOLINA CUSTARD
Because they are so TASTY!
Keeping the fact that my bougatsa with a Greek semolina custard is delicious to one side. You should make them because:
- They are super quick and easy to make
- You can make them with your kids, have so much fun and they will have something at the end that looks professional which they will be proud of. Check my Instagram to see my girls having fun making them
- They are impressive. When you offer someone one and you say “I made them”, they will see the pie and automatically think you are so kind thinking about me, taking all that time to make a pie and I’m the lucky one to get to benefit from all your hard work. Little do they know he he he….
- You can take my bougatsa with a Greek semolina custard anywhere. Being a hand pie they travel well. You don’t have to worry about them leaking all over the place, just watch out for flaky pastry everywhere though. You don’t need to heat them up so great for when you are on the go, in the car or when you have a picnic.
- Oh yeah and because they are scrumptious!
- 1 cup Semolina
- 1 cup Sugar
- 3 cups Water
- A splash of rose water
- 2-3 pieces Mastixa / mastic (ground)
- 2 packs Pre rolled puff pastry (320g per pack)
- 1 Egg (beaten)
- Flour (to sprinkle over baking tray)
- Pestle and mortar
- 1 Pan
- Wooden spoon
- Cookie cutter 7.5cm wide
- Small bowl/ cup
- Pastry brush
- Baking Tray
- Wire Rack
- Add 1 cup of semolina, 1 cup of sugar, 3 cups of water, a splash of rose water and your ground mastic to your pan on a low heat and stir until it thickens into a lovely custard. Check the video below to see what it should look like then pour your custard into a bowl and leave it to cool
- Cut circles out of your puff pastry with your cookie cutter
- Place a teaspoon of filling in the center of each circle
- Brush egg white around the edge of each puff pastry circle
- Fold over your pastry to make a semi-circle
- Push down the edges with your fingers
- With a fork press down all the way around the open edge to seal. See video below
- Brush the top with egg white
- Repeat until all your bougatses are done
- Place your bougatses on a floured baking tray and bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until they are golden
- Let your bougatses cool for a few minutes
- Dig in (",)