If you’ve visited Greece, you may have tried Bougatsa – a pastry that contains sweet or savory filling and wrapped like an envelope with phyllo pastry opened in the air by hand.
The most popular Bougatsa has to be with “Crema”…a semolina based custard. The most common way to have it served is to have a piece cut into bite-sized pieces and dusted with icing sugar and cinnamon.
I thought of this version as a way of enjoying this treat as a light dessert or to serve at a dinner party. Once again, I am using Lila’s Thick Phyllo sheets as they hold up wonderfully when fried, the filling doesn’t seep out and they look fabulous!
Phyllo Cigars With Bougatsa Cream
For the custard
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1 cup fine semolina
2/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt
3 1/4 cups whole milk
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
zest of 1/2 orange
For the cigars
2 package of Lila’s Thick Phyllo Sheets (20-25 sheets) pastry (5 X 5in.), thawed in the fridge
1 Tbsp. corn starch mixed with 1/2 cup tap water in a bowl
oil for frying
- In a medium-sized pot over medium heat, add the butter and once melted, add semolina, sugar, and cook, stirring for a couple of minutes until the butter’s absorbed and the semolina is golden but not browned.
- While whisking, add the milk in a steady stream until all the liquid is absorbed. Cook while stirring for 3-4 minutes, until the custard has the texture of loose cream of wheat. Remove from the heat, add the zest and vanilla and stir in. Place cling film over the custard and allow to cool (do not place the lid on the pot).
- Take your phyllo pastry out of the fridge and allow it 15 minutes to come to room temperature before using. Take your phyllo out of the package and place it on your work surface so that it lays vertically in front of you.
- Take a sheet of phyllo and place a tablespoon of custard near the bottom of the phyllo sheet (leave 1 centimeter space from bottom and sides). Fold the bottom flap over the filling then fold the sides over and roll up until there is 1 inch of phyllo left.
- Now dip your finger into the corn starch slurry and wet the top end of the phyllo and roll up. Place on a parchment lined baking tray. Repeat with remaining phyllo sheets. You may freeze for future use.
- Add about 1 inch of oil in a large deep skillet and bring up to about 350F. Shallow fry your phyllo cigars (turn with tongs when golden) and reserve on a paper lined baking sheet.
- Serve after 5 minutes (the filling will still be warm) or reserve in a warm oven and serve on a platter. Cut in half on a bias, serve with a dusting of icing sugar and cinnamon. Serve with a Greek coffee or Cafe Frappe.
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