Bougatsa (Μπουγάτσα)

Bougatsa-4Μπουγάτσα (boo-gat-saa) is a Greek breakfast pastry said to have originated in Macedonia. It is very popular in Thessaloniki and the the northern areas of Greece. Typically, Bougatsa is served as little wrapped rectangles or squares of filo filled with a sweet farina custard. Bougatsa is one of my personal favorites and I have been known to eat Bougatsa for breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner while traveling in Greece… yes, of course on the same day. :)

Bougatsa-7This is an extremely simplified, make-ahead variation of Bougatsa. What could go wrong with filo, butter, and sweet custard filling? I love the addition of tart dried cherries with the sweetness of the filling and just a hint of lemon. This method is quick to prepare and assemble which makes it perfect for a Christmas morning breakfast. Make it the night before and pop it in the oven to bake while presents are being opened. On Christmas morning in my house, the only thing faster than baking this Bougatsa is my children tearing through their Christmas presents.



8 sheets of Filo

1/2 stick of melted butter

3/4 cup fine semolina

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

3 cups milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

zest of 1/2 lemon

1/2 cup dried cherries

confectioners sugar and cinnamon for dusting


Preheat oven to 350 degrees, F.

Bougatsa-13Butter the bottom of a casserole dish or 9×13 glass pan.  Loosely squish and bunch 4 sheets of filo on the bottom of the dish.  Lightly butter. Bake the filo sheets for 15 minutes until they are browned.

While the filo is baking, prepare the custard filling by wisking together the semolina, sugar, eggs, milk, and vanilla extract.

Bougatsa-12 Bougatsa-11In a medium saucepan over medium heat, continue to wisk the mixture until it thickens.  Remove from heat and mix in the lemon zest.


Remove the filo from the oven and sprinkle with half of the dried cherries. Pour the filling mixture over the browned filo sheets and add the remaining dried cherries to the top.

Bougatsa-9Loosely bunch the remainining 4 filo sheets and gently butter.  (If you are preparing the night before at this point simply cover, place in the refrigerator and bake when ready.)

Bougatsa-8When ready to bake place in the oven for 15 minutes until the filo is golden brown.


Sprinkle with confectioners sugar, cinnamon and serve warm.


I hope and pray you and your loved ones have a very Merry Christmas!

©2014 by Alexandra Salidas Roll, Figs & Feta, LLC.

Recipe and photos by Alexandra Salidas Roll of Figs & Feta, LLC.  Please do not reprint this recipe without permission.  If you would like to feature this recipe on your blog or site, please rewrite the method of preparation and link your post to this one as the original source.  Thank you!

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