Greece is said to be the most beautiful country in the world. The place has a lot to offer, from being the birthplace of Western civilization and democracy to being best known for its Greek gods, ancient history, Olympic games, beautiful lakes, magnificent temples, and long history. Although, the best way to introduce Greece is via their cuisine.
The people of Greece take great pride in their cuisine, and it is quite understandable if we look at their delicious dishes. But with a heavy meal, a great dessert is a must. That is where Greeks have the upper hand, as they have a lot of great Greek desserts to offer to their people and those welcomed in the country.
One of the most loved sweet dishes in Greece is Greek Bougatsa. This dessert has a long history and every generation that has passed cherished Bougatsa with all their heart. To know more about this sweet dish, continue reading!
Greek Bougatsa Origin and Curiosities
Greek Bougatsa is a traditional Greek delight sweet and savory pastry made with layers of phyllo, a paper-thin unleavened flour dough filled with meat, sweet custard, cheese, and semolina. Bougatsa means “sweet, sour, and cheese filling in a pie closed with dough.” Not only does it taste good, but the presentation is cherry to the eyes.
It is dusted with a dash of powdered sugar and cinnamon, cut into pieces, and served hot and warm. Eat it at breakfast, in the middle of the day, or after dinner; it does not matter because you are sure to enjoy it at any time. The origins of Greek Bougatsa can be traced back to 1453 A.D. Bougatsa’s idea came from the geographical area of Byzantium, specifically Constantinople. Pies and desserts in a pan were a Byzantine tradition. As a result, Bougasta’s sweet creation.
This sweet dish is said to have originated in Serres, the Macedonia region of northern Greece, following the Turkey-Greece war in 1922 because many immigrants settled there. Although this sweet gets enjoyed throughout Greece, it is popular in northern Greece, specifically in Thessaloniki.
The reason is simple: the people discovered that Bougasta keeps them full for most of the day; hence, the popularity. Most tourists who visit Greece especially go to the north to enjoy the mouth-watering taste of Greek Bougasta. The people of Chania and Heraklion in Crete are proud to serve this dish to welcome visitors, and they are equally prideful to eat Bougasta.
The sweet is made in various cafes throughout the city from early morning to late afternoon and is known as “Bougatsa Chanion” in Chania. The shops at Morosini square are famous places that sell Greek Bougasta. Heraklion, the capital city of Crete, has rows of shops at Morosini square, which is well-known for selling the best Greek Bougasta made by Armenian refugees from Asia minor.
The pie’s name, “Bougasta,” had a backstory before it was named. According to the Ottoman dictionary, the word “Pogatsa” comes from the Latin word “Focaccia,” which translates as “Sweet Pie,” and the name of the well-known Greek Bougasta also comes from the Latin word. However, Greek Bougasta is not only limited to being sweet- if you like, you can also make it savory too.
Greek Bougasta is an inexpensive dish with a wide range of flavors. The Greek way of making it is to stuff it with cheese for a savor taste or load it in with semolina custard with a dressing of cinnamon and powdered sugar for sweetness. This dish’s versatility is enhanced by the fact that it is easily customizable. You can stick to the traditional recipe or modify it to suit your tastes. If you want to spice it up, try adding spinach or spinach with cheese and minced meat.
Bougatsa Vs Galaktoboureko
That ongoing debate is going through the years. Just like Bougatsa, this dish is also highly relished all over Greece, especially in places where immigrants got settled. Galaktoboureko gets derived from the Greek word “Gala,” which means milk, and the Turkish word “Bourek,” which means pastry. Despite this, it is not considered one of the main desserts in Turkish Food.
People have been enjoying both sweets, but that did not stop discussing the similarities of the delights. The desserts share some same characteristics, but there are subtle differences that set them apart. But first, both delicacies come from Greece. Both Greek Bougasta and Galaktoboureko are semolina custard desserts that get wrapped under the layers of phyllo.
One of the main differences is that Bougatsa gets sprinkled with only powdered sugar and cinnamon. Galaktoboureko, on the other hand, is coated in a citrus-flavored syrup. The layers of custards are another distinction. While in Galaktoboureko, thick layers of custard can get found, thin layers of custard make Bougatsa.
Finally, the presentation of both dishes differs. Galaktoboureko gets made in a pan, from which the pieces get cut. Unlike Bougatsa, which gets made one at a time.
Desserts are well-loved by everyone, whether a child, adolescent, adult, or even elder; a sweet tooth craving never ends. Now, brownies and cupcakes are many people go To’s, but what if you can try other countries’ delicacies while sitting in the comfort of your home. This dessert is not at all complicated to make. You do not even have to wait to book a ticket to Greece; tasting this dish got easier. With this simple recipe, you can enjoy the world-famous Greek Bougatsa in just 20 minutes without traveling to Greece.
For the Custard
- 1-liter milk (lactose-free milk is fine too)
- 1/3 cups of grainy sugar
- 1/2 to 1/4 cups of semolina flour
- A tablespoon of corn starch
- 1-3 whole eggs
- egg yolk (depending on how many eggs get used)
- 1/4 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract or powdered vanilla
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
- A pinch of salt.
To make the custard
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
- Take a large pot and set the heat to medium-high. Add your melted butter and sugar and mix.
- After the sugar and butter are well mixed, start pouring milk, semolina, and vanilla extract. Keep stirring and let it cook for 5 minutes.
- Crack three eggs and whisk. Add the beaten eggs to the pot.
- Keep stirring the ingredients in the pot for 10 minutes. After the time is up, your custard is ready.
To make Bougatsa
- Open the pack and unwrap the phyllo sheets.
- Take a baking tray and paint it with melted butter.
- Place the first phyllo on the tray, with the side hanging out, and coat the top with butter. Place the second phyllo on top of the first one, coat with butter, and then place the third phyllo over.
- Pour the custard in the middle of the third layer.
- Drizzle butter between the layers of phyllo hanging from the pan and on top of the custard.
- Cut it into four pieces (or more if however preferred)
- Let it bake for half an hour or more until the Bougatsa shows a golden color.
- After the bell dings, sweeten your mouth with some amazing crispy Greek Bougatsa.
To add more flavor to the already highly flavored sweet sprinkle Greek Bougatsa with powdered sugar and some grounded cinnamon. Enjoy it after eating hours, in the middle of the day, or with tea or coffee- this appetizing sweet suits everything.
Bougatsa Calories and Nutrition
There is no solution to stop a sweet tooth. Imagine eating Greek Bougatsa after coming home from a tiring day, at school, or eating it while your favorite movie comes on air on TV. Sounds like a good plan. However, many people may worry about large intakes of calories. Good news to calorie-cautious people who love sweets, Greek Bougatsa is a perfect low-calorie dessert. And if you are one of those on a diet but can’t help miss the delectable Bougatsa, leave your worries aside because this dish has only 376 calories. Greeks do eat this with breakfast, so it is safe to say that if they can eat a sweet after waking up, you can eat it at any time of the day. So, do not ignore your late-night Greek Bougatsa craving to eat this late-night while studying, reading your favorite book, or while watching a TV show or movie.
When it comes to nutrients, Greek Bougatsa has a good amount of them. It contains 22g of carbs, significantly less than the recommended carbohydrate intake. In terms of the fat content present, who would have guessed that a dessert would contain 20g of fat? This sweet consists of nutrients, which are Vitamins A, B, B-12, C, as well as Calcium, Iron, Zinc, and Potassium. So, you’ll not only be enjoying a Greek delicacy, but you’ll also be providing your body with the necessary nutrients.
Whether you eat Greek Bougatsa alone, with family, or with your friends each time, the taste will relish more. There is no disappointment when it comes to the Greeks’ sweetest creation. There is a reason why it is worldwide famous. Charoúmeno Fagitó!
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