How To Eat Bougatsa

Bougatsa Drenched With Honey Syrup

Bougatsa Drenched With Honey Syrup

Eating a Bougatsa requires technique, of course you could just opt for a fork or spoon but this is street food.  The crisp, flaky filo outer will shatter the minute you bite it.  The fragrant thick dusting of icing sugar and cinnamon will scatter all over you if you breathe too hard and the soft vanilla custard filling could just plop out down your front.

Vanilla Bougatsa

Vanilla Bougatsa

Bougatsa can be bought in any traditional Greek bakery and they come in as many guises as there are bakers.  Filled filo ‘money’ bags with gathered tops, golden and crisp, dusted with cinnamon.  A large rectangular pasty made for sharing at home after being gently warmed, a filo tart with spaghetti strips of pastry protectively curled over the custard inside.  Or individual rectangular parcels with neatly folded in edges, each layer of filo spread with melted browned butter then half wrapped in a paper napkin to take away. These are the true street food version, which require you to lean forward, breathe in and take a very large bite.  The pastry cracks and fragments scatter, the soft sugar coating melts and the oozing filling squidges out either side of your mouth.  Stay bent forward and take another bite, now you have it under control, the last fragments will be caught by the paper wrap and you can savour the final bite.

I opted for the home made ‘slice’ version soaked in honey syrup and definitely requiring a spoon, but oh so delicious.

Bougatsa Dusted With Cinnamon And Icing Sugar

Bougatsa Dusted With Cinnamon And Icing Sugar

Bougatsa In Honey Syrup

Makes 18

  • 200ml (3/4 cup + 2 tbs) double cream
  • 800ml (2 and 1/3 cup + 2 tsp) full cream milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla paste or 1 and 1/2 vanilla pods split and seeds removed
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 90g (1 cup) caster sugar
  • 100g (3/4 cup) fine semolina
  • 2 tablespoons corn flour
  • 270g /7 sheets filo pastry
  • 100g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter melted
  • 2 tablespoons icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For The Honey Syrup

  • 340g (1 cup + 6 tbs) Greek honey
  • 85ml (1/3 cup + 2 tsp) water
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 sticks of cinnamon


  • In a bowl beat together the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture is smooth and pale in colour set aside
  • Place the milk, cream and vanilla in a pan over a moderate heat until it just boils, set aside
  • Beat the cornflour into the egg mixture
  • On a medium heat gently sprinkle the semolina into the milk whisking all the time
  • Pour the beaten egg mixture into the milk and semolina and whisk until well combined
  • Using a wooden spoon stir until the mixture thickens but is still soft
The Custard Mixture Thickened And Ready To Be Cooled

The Custard Mixture Thickened And Ready To Be Cooled

  • Pour into a shallow dish to cool for 10 – 15 minutes, covered, directly on top of the custard, with plastic wrap
  • Preheat the oven 180c/160c fan/gas mark 4/350f
  • Brush a shallow rectangular 32 x 22 cm (12 1/2 x 8 1/2 inch) baking tray with melted butter
  • Place 1 sheets of filo pastry on the bottom of the tray.  Cut off any excess and keep.
  • Brush the first layer of filo with melted butter and top with a second layer. Repeat until you have three layer in the tray all trimmed
  • Pour the thickened custard into the filo lined tray
  • Place a sheet of filo on top of the custard, brush with melted butter and trim.
  • Continue covering with layers of filo, including the trimmings, brushing with the melted butter between each layer and finally brushing the top layer
  • Score the top layers of pastry sheets with a knife into 18 portion sizes
  • Place in the centre of the oven for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown and the layers have separated
  • Sieve together the icing sugar and cinnamon, set aside
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly, slice through the Bougatsa along scored lines with a sharp knife
Spices Fot The Honey Syrup

Spices Fot The Honey Syrup

To Make the honey syrup

  • Place all the ingredients in a pan over a moderate heat, simmer for 5 minutes and remove from the heat to cool

To Serve

  • Place a square of Bugatsa on a plate, dust with icing sugar and cinnamon mixture and drench with honey syrup
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    • says

      How wonderful, I often think the reputation of Greek food is ruined by dodgy restaurants and Taverners on holiday, when it can be so delicious. GG

  1. Maria Ball says

    I have tasted the glamorousglutton Bougatsa at a friend’s lunch and it was truly delicious and so hard not to go back for a second one.

  2. says

    Good god GG, you’ve just tempted this lactose intolerant beyond all words! I think the visual words used were the final straw :)
    I’ve never eaten a Bougatsa, and I never will sadly, but it does look bloody lovely!
    Janie x

    • says

      I’m trying to work out if these could be made lactose free and i’m sure it’s possible. It’d be worth playing around they’re so delicious. GG

  3. says

    I love this dessert!! And yours looks so good, I wouldn’t care if it got all over me! I’d just be licking my shirt.

    Btw, when does your post notification go out? I don’t get it till much later and by the time I’m here, there’s 20 comments already! I haven’t received this post at all yet. Just wondering.

  4. says

    Oh my god!!! Your pictures are completely mouth watering. I don’t think I’d need instructions on how to eat these, I’d need instruction on how NOT to eat them. They look positively divine!
    *kisses* H

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