Monday, June 13, 2011

bougatsa without poached figs

hahaha, it is a funny post title, isn't it? well, i am having a Masterchef Australia fever again. and i guess this dessert just appeared few weeks ago in Masterclass, George Calombaris made it. guess what! he extremely hates food-blogger. i just got the info from Not Quite Nigella, she did mention it a few times though. i don't care if he hates us, i just wanted to try to make some of his recipe. but if once in a blue moon, he accidentally read this post, i would like him to kill this page as soon as he could because i haven't cooked his dish into perfection.

bougatsa is a traditional Greek dessert, according to what George said, bougatsa is the Greek version custard tarts. according to wikipedia, bougatsa is a Greek breakfast pastry consisting of custard, cheese, or minced meat filling between layers of phyllo. i faced some problems making it though. problem number 1, phyllo pastry is very rare here in Jakarta, at least that's what i've been thinking for quite a long time. problem number 2, no figs here, i could substitute it with pear but it leads me to problem number 3. problem number 3, i had no verjuice. problem number 4, i don't have semolina flour. this time i really hope George doesn't read this paragraph, he surely will despise food blogger more because he may think i couldn't find any substitute for it or he'll think i'm crazy trying to make the dish without those ingredients. however, i think there's always a solution to any kitchen's problem and also a substitute to almost every ingredients. i actually think i could make this dish with homemade phyllo pastry, pears, and perhaps a pomegranate juice to substitute verjuice. but, i couldn't make a proper phyllo pastry, i think i made it a little thicker than it should. then i decided not to poach anything to accompany the bougatsa because i was just too lazy that time. the custard ask for semolina flour, i don't have any, even worse i haven't seen semolina flour before, so i substituted it with cornflour though i think it ruined the texture of the custard.

but, let's be honest. the flavor of the custard is beyond amazing. i wonder if i make the phyllo better and perfect, this tart would be divine. what if i added the poached pear or figs, it would be magnificent for sure. not to forget the cinnamon dusting, it enriches the flavor sweetly. i will recreate this dish again someday, with poached pears and also with a pasta machine i hope, rolling pin didn't do the justice for me. somebody please buy me a pasta machine, i will pay you with homemade pasta almost everyday and this homemade bougatsa almost every week. hahaha. in the end, does any of you interested on making this bougatsa?

Bougatsa with Poached Figs
original recipe from Masterchef Australia

fresh filo pastry:
400 gr plain flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
200 ml warm water (warm = to activate the gluten)
cornflour to dust

1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthways and seeds scraped out of the bean
2 tsp cornflour
2 tbsp semolina flour
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 egg
200 ml full cream milk
100 ml pure cream
1/2 cup clarified butter, for brushing (clarified butter = to avoid burnt specks; make it by removing the milk solids from melted butter)
icing sugar, to dust
cinnamon powder, to dust

poached figs:
3 cinnamon quills, split into 3-4 pieces lengthways
3 medium figs, halved
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthways and seeds scraped out of the bean
2/3 cup rose verjuice
4 tbsp water

  1. preheat oven to 180 degree C.
  2. for filo, place flour, salt, olive oil, and warm water into food processor, process for 1-2 minutes or until mixture forms a ball.
  3. place dough onto a bench, lightly floured with cornflour and knead for 3-4 minutes or until smooth. place into a lightly oiled bowl, wrapped with cling film and let rest for approximately 2 hours.
  4. for bougatsa filling, place vanilla seeds, corn flour, semolina, sugar, egg, milk, and cream into a saucepan and whisk to combine. place over a medium heat and cook, whisking continuously, until custard boils and thickens. spread custard over the base of a tray and allow to cool.
  5. for poached figs, spear a piece of cinnamon quill through each fig. place sugar, vanilla bean, verjuice, and water in a small saucepan, add figs, cover with a cartouche and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. turn off heat and leave covered for 5-10 minutes.
  6. remove figs and set to one side. cook liquid for 7-10 minutes or until liquid is thick and syrupy.
  7. Divide pastry into eight portions, roll each portion to approximately one 1cm thick, dusting with cornflour to prevent sticking. cover with a tea towel and rest for 10 minutes.
  8. using a pasta machine, roll out one portion of pastry, starting at the largest setting work through the thinnest setting, rolling the pastry through each setting 2-3 times. laminate pasta a few times at the thickest setting. cut pastry sheets into length, dust with cornflour and using a rolling pin roll sheets until very thin. keep sheets of filo between sheets of baking paper while not working with it so it doesn't dry out.
  9. lightly grease a 6x1/2 cup muffin pan. cut the filo into 15cm x 15cm squares, brush one square with butter and top with second square. gently press squares into prepared pan. cut chilled custard into 3cm cubes and place in the center of the pastry sheet. brush filo with butter, bring together sides and pinch to seal. brush with a little more butter.
  10. bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. dust with icing sugar and cinnamon. 
  11. to serve, arrange 3 bougatsa and 3 figs on a serving plate and drizzle with syrup.
whew, what a long recipe! it sounds really chef-y but worth the efforts. come on, try to make some! :)
anyhow, thanks for reading!
happy baking and enjoy your day..


  1. Selalu deh, kalo maen dimari kejumpaan dgn nama yg aneh2 lagi hihhihi. Bahan2nya kok agak planet gitu yah Mon :D

  2. emberrr Ta.. bahannya planet banget! hahaha. makanya banyak yg ga ada.. tp aku emg suka penasaran justru sm resep2 planet yg kyk gini.. hahaha. cuma klo waktunya lg mepetpet ya malah jd masalah. hehehe

  3. Lain kali spanakopitah pake H Mon hehehe, aku taunya yg dari Greece cuma itu dowank hehehe

  4. hahaha. aku udah simpen Ta dr kapan tau resep si spanakopitah ini! tapi ya itu, bahannya juga susah nyarinyaaa.. jd aku nyerah deh, apa lagi itu bukan dessert, makin pindah kebawah2 deh tuh urutan eksekusi nya. hahaha

  5. OMG i have to try those!! And i have to do it for my mom! I'll sure she'd adore it!!

  6. @Valerie: come on, try it val! i'm sure you can do better than mine and your mom will love it too..

  7. Hi Monica, how're you lately? Haven't seen your updates for a while, it is so nice to see you back here~

  8. Hi Siukwan, it's also a nice thing hearing from you again. yeah, to be honest, I've been busy with my college projects and i couldn't find much time for baking/cooking like i used to. but i really miss blogging, baking, and also cooking so much.
    thank you for your kind and supportive comment, i hope you do well too there.. big hug from Jakarta!


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