While Bougatsa is found in many pastry shops around Greece, I think in Crete they’re held to a higher standard of quality and taste. Everyone here tells me if I need to eat it and everyone has their favourite spot. Bougatsa is essentially a crunchy phyllo pastry wrapped around a creamy sweet custard, or sweet mizithra cheese then cut up roughly into smaller squares.
Mizithra has an almost ricotta like texture but slightly sweeter. It was delicious. When I tried to veganize this it just didn’t taste right. Something about the taste and texture was off. It was good, but not nearly as good as I remember so I set it aside. Maybe i’ll come back to it another time. Sometimes things just aren’t meant to be tampered with and sometimes you just have to accept it and move on. So, move on I did to the custardy version. This time, I made it work. I replaced the eggs with the addition of semolina flour to thicken up the custard and to also give it a yellow hue associated with eggy custards.
makes 4-5 pastries
- 170g (1 cup) semolina flour
- 1000ml (4 cups) vegan milk (I used soy milk, but cashew would also be lovely)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract or paste
- 2 tbsp cane sugar
- pinch of salt
- zest of 1 lemon
- 4-5 sheets of phyllo pastry
- 250g vegan margarine or olive oil for brushing
- Pour vegan milk into a medium pot and bring to a boil over medium heat.
- Slowly sprinkle semolina while continuously whisking.
- Remove from heat after 5-6 minutes. Add vanilla extract and lemon zest and whisk in. The texture should be a little thicker than sour cream.
- Let cool and set aside
- Unroll one sheet of phyllo, keeping the remainder covered with dampened kitchen towel to prevent drying.
- Place on a work surface, with narrow end facing you.
- Brush lightly with melted margarine or olive oil.
- Place around 3 heaping tbsp of custard on lower 1/3 of phyllo.
- Using a thin, flexible spatula, spread custard into a wide rectangle, almost covering lower third of phyllo. Save a little bit of space on the edges
- Fold right and left sides of phyllo towards center so that edges just meet; lightly brush folded sides with butter.
- Place on a lightly greased baking sheet and repeat envelope-making procedure 3-4 more times (depending on how many bougatsa you are making). If you have any cream leftover you can save it for later and put it on toast or just make more bougatsa
- Brush tops of bougatsa with any remaining margarine and bake until golden-brown, about 15-18 minutes.
- Let cool before serving.
- Serve warm, topped with honey (if not vegan) or maple, walnuts or powdered sugar
Hope you guys enjoy this as much as I did. Great for us sweet tooths out there!!
IF YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE BE SURE TO TAG YOUR PHOTO #FIGSANDMAPLE