Bougatsa - the Irresistible Sweet Custard Filo Pie

The Taste of New Year on the Cretan Streets

 Imagine a freshly baked pie made of multiple crispy layers of filo pastry, enclosing a soft, golden, creamy filling. Then, imagine that it is cut into small, square portions on a plate, ready to serve while flavors of milk, butter, and vanilla invade your nostrils. It looks irresistible and once tasted, it is unforgettable!

 Enjoy "Bougatsa" (μπουγάτσα), a famous delicacy of Greek pastry! We recommend that you not miss it, especially if you come to Crete!

 Nutritious and high in calories, bougatsa is a breakfast snack and a coffee or tea accompaniment rather than a dessert. In Greece, the recipes vary by area. Basically, bougatsa is a pie with a sweet filling made from a mixture of local cheeses, milk, eggs, semolina, and butter wrapped in crispy dough. In Thessaloniki and the region of Central Macedonia in northern Greece, it is also popular in the salty version, with a filling of feta cheese, spinach, or minced meat.

 Of course, each of these recipes is tasty in itself, but none surpass the Cretan bougatsa. The Cretans make only the sweet pie, which they fill with traditional myzithra cheese (a soft goat, sheep, or mixed cheese used mainly for sweets, resembling Italian ricotta) mixed with sugar and vanilla.

 The creamy and fine texture of the filling is obtained by adding milk, egg, and a little wheat semolina. The dough leaves are layered with melted butter before wrapping the filling. When removed from the oven, the pie is covered with granulated sugar and cinnamon, thus getting a final sweet-aromatic-spicy "touch" that harmonizes perfectly with the slightly sour taste of myzithra.

 There are a few famous pastry shops in the old center of Chania and Heraklion, where you can find the best bougatsa in Crete. Because it is consumed hot, and most of the time on the spot, the shops restlessly prepare small quantities which are sold quickly. The pie remains crispy for at least a day and, if eaten at home, can be reheated in the classic oven or microwave.

 Completing the list of traditional winter sweets, bougatsa has become the star delicacy that gives life flavor on the first day of the new year. This delicious dish is so appreciated and enjoyed that a new custom appeared in Crete on New Year's Eve. It has become customary for pastry shops to remain open until the early hours of the morning to serve the partygoers who come out of clubs and bars and stop to eat a hot portion of bougatsa on the street before heading home.

 If we made you curious and eager to taste the traditional Cretan bougatsa, don't forget to put it on the "must try" list on holiday!

Kali Orexi and Kali Xronia! Happy New Year!

No comments

Post a Comment