The Greek custard pie or Bougatsa with custard, as we call it in Greek, is a pie that you can find in bakeries and small pastry shops when you visit Greece. Bougatsa is actually a type of pastry that is very thin and stretchy. There is a specific technique to open that type of pastry and requires skills and experience to perfect it. You can find many different Bougatsas with savoury or sweet filling, with the custard being the most popular one. Here, I’m using stored bought phyllo pastry to make things easier and a personal twist for the custard where I’ve added pumpkin purée.
The inspiration for this Greek custard pie with pumpkin came after Halloween, when I had all these pumpkins and had to think of ways to use them. I decided to add some pumpkin purée to the custard to make it more autumny, and oh my, it tasted heavenly! I used my own homemade pumpkin purée but you could also use canned one to speed up the process. You are going to love this creamy pumpkin custard pie wrapped in crispy phyllo pastry! Serve it for breakfast with a cup of coffee or have a piece for dessert. It’s great for anytime of the day!
Why you should try my recipe
- Easy steps to follow to make a bougatsa with store bought pastry.
- Nice idea to use your fall pumpkins or squashes.
- Great dessert for halloween and thanksgiving season.
- Perfect creamy custard and crispy phyllo pastry
Ingredients & How-to
To make this Greek bougatsa with pumpkin, you will need phyllo pastry and butter, and the ingredients for the custard: fine semolina, milk, eggs, sugar, pumpkin purée, cornstarch and vanilla extract.
1. Preparing the custard
I always start with preparing the custard so it has some time to cool down whilst preparing the pastry.
01. To start, I add the milk to a pot and heat it up. I just want it to get hot but not boiling. It will take something between 4-5 minutes. When the milk is ready, I turn off the heat and leave it in the pot.
02. In a big bowl, I add one whole egg, one egg yolk and the sugar. Don’t throw the egg white from the second egg. It’s an excellent source of protein and you can cook it for a couple of minutes and add it to salads. Using a whisk, I mix well the sugar and eggs, until the sugar has dissolved.
03. Then, with a ladle, I pour 3-4 scoops of the hot milk to the egg and sugar mixture. Remember to keep whisking while adding the hot milk slowly into the mixture. What we are trying to do here is slowly increase the temperature of the eggs. Then, I add the cornstarch and the vanilla extract and whisk a little bit to incorporate the cornstarch and avoid forming any lumps.
04. I add the egg, sugar & milk mixture back to the pot with the remaining milk and place it back on the stove. I turn the heat to medium and add the semolina and the pumpkin purée to the pot. You can use fresh pumpkin purée or canned one. I’ve used my own pumpkin purée from our halloween pumpkins that’s why the colour is a light orange. If you are using canned pumpkin purée, the colour will be a bit darker. Keep whisking to prevent sticking at the bottom. The custard is ready when it gets thick.
05. When the custard is ready, I turn off the heat and add one tablespoon of butter. That helps to get a more shiny and creamy texture, and also the cold butter will bring down the temperature and prevent the custard from getting even thicker. I remove the custard from the pot and add it to a bowl. I cover it with some cling film to prevent skin forming on top. The cling film should touch the surface of the custard.
2. Assembling the Bougatsa
01. For assembling the bougatsa pie, I start with melting the butter in a small pan. Then, I brush the bottom of rectangular tray with butter. I usually use a pyrex tray around 35x23cm or 14x9 inches, but you could use any rectangular tray you have around that size.
Now I add the first layer of phyllo pastry to the bottom of the tray. I make sure the whole bottom of the tray is covered with the phyllo and there might be some excess hanging outside.
02. I’m adding 4 layers in total to the bottom of the tray for this Greek custard pie with pumpkin. In between the layers, I drizzle with the melted butter 3-4 times making sure that I don’t touch the phyllo with the brush. For the second layer, I place the phyllo in the middle left side, making sure the long left size of the tray is covered and there is some part of the phyllo hanging outside the tray. Same with the third layer, but covering the long right side of the tray. For the fourth layer, I just place it in the middle. Don’t forget to drizzle between the layers. What we are aiming for here, is to form a big pocket for the custard.
03. Now, I add the custard to the tray and spread it evenly with a spatula or a spoon. I fold inside all the phyllo pastry that is hanging outside. It won’t cover completely the custard. I drizzle with some more melted butter the top of the phyllo pastry.
04. For the top, I’m using three phyllo pastry layers. For these top layers, I’m keeping all the phyllo inside the tray by folding it gently with my fingers. The phyllo will look a bit messy and will not be completely straight. That’s what we are aiming for. Again, I drizzle with melted butter between each layer, but this time I gently touch the phyllo with my brush.
05. To bake the bougatsa with pumpkin, I’m preheating the oven to 190°C/375°F and bake it for around 30-40 minutes. What we are aiming for here, is a nice golden brown colour that will give the bougatsa a nice crispy phyllo.
Greek custard pie is served with dusted powdered sugar and cinnamon. You could serve a small piece as a dessert after food or for brunch. The Greeks sometimes have it for breakfast on the go or late at night after being out for drinks. In my family, we love having it as a midday snack with a cup of coffee or tea, but as you can see, it’s a sweet indulgence that you can enjoy any time of the day.
I recommend storing the greek custard pie at room temperature for up to 3 days and cover it with some kitchen foil or towel. The phyllo pastry will get a bit softer after the first day, but the pie will still taste really good.
What is bougatsa pie? Bougatsa pie is a traditional Greek pie made with a very thin stretchy pastry and folded like an envelope. You can find several variations of bougatsa with different fillings. The most popular one is bougatsa with custard filling, but there are also savoury bougatsa pies with cheese or mince filling.
How to make Greek custard pie dairy free? To make the Greek custard pie dairy free, you could substitute the milk with a dairy free milk and the butter with a vegetable oil of your choice.
How to serve Greek custard pie? To serve the bougatsa pie, dust with powdered sugar and cinnamon and serve while hot.
How do I store the bougatsa pie? I recommend storing the bougatsa pie at room temperature for up to 3 days. Don’t put it in an airtight container as the phyllo will get very soft and lose most of its crispiness.
Other Recipes to Try
If you liked my Greek Custard Pie with Pumpkin Recipe, check out these recipes too
Watch the Video
Greek Custard Pie - Bougatsa With PumpkinHere is an easy pumpkin dessert that you are going to love! Perfect for Halloween season and Thanksgiving. This recipe for a Greek custard pie or bougatsa has a personal twist of my own, where I've added pumpkin purée to the custard filling. I'm using store bought phyllo pastry for this bougatsa pie to make it which makes the whole process so much easier and quicker. To serve, dust with powdered sugar and cinnamon. Enjoy a slice with a cup of coffee or after your lunch.
- 2 1/2 cups / 320gr milk
- 1 stick + 1 tablespoon / 125gr butter
- 1/3 cup (65gr) sugar
- 1 cup (175gr) fine semolina
- 1 cup (220gr) pumpkin purée (canned or fresh)
- 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon of cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 7 sheets of phyllo pastry
- cinnamon & powdered sugar to serve
- Add the sugar and eggs to a bowl. Mix well until the sugar has dissolved.
- In a pot, add the milk and warm it up until it's hot but not boiling.
- With a ladle, add 3-4 scoops, one at a time, while whisking at the same time.
- Add the cornstarch and the vanilla extract to the mixture. Mix well to prevent forming any lumps.
- Pour the mixture back to the pot with the remaining milk.
- Place the pot on the stove and heat it over medium heat.
- Add the semolina and pumpkin purée. Keep whisking until it thickens.
- Turn off the heat and add one tablespoon of butter. Mix well until the butter has melted.
- Place the pumpkin custard in a bowl and cover with cling film. The cling film should touch the custard to prevent skin from forming.
- Now it's time for the phyllo pastry. Melt the butter. Open the phyllo pastry package and cover the sheets with a towel so they don't dry up.
- Brush with melted butter the bottom of a rectangular tray, around 35x23cm or 14x9 inches.
- Add the first layer of the phyllo pastry, covering the bottom of the tray. Drizzle with butter 2-3 times without touching the phyllo.
- Add the second layer of phyllo, making sure that one of the long sides of the tray is covered and leave a little bit of the phyllo hanging outside. Drizzle again with butter.
- Add the third layer of phyllo, covering the other long side of the tray and leaving some of the phyllo pastry hanging outside.
- Add one more layer, four in total, covering the bottom of the tray. Drizzle with butter.
- Add the pumpkin custard and spread evenly with a spatula or a spoon.
- Fold the phyllo pastry that is hanging outside the tray inside, covering parts of the custard. Drizzle with some more butter.
- Add one layer of the phyllo pastry at the top by folding it gently with your fingers, so there is no excess phyllo outside the tray. Drizzle with some butter.
- Add two more layers of phyllo pastry at the top, so there are three in total, drizzling with butter in between them.
- Add the remaining butter to the top layer and gently spread it with the brush.
- Bake in a preheated oven to 190°C/375°F for 30-40 minutes, or until it's golden brown and crispy.
- To serve, dust with cinnamon and powdered sugar.
- Make sure that the bottom phyllo layers cover all the edges of the tray to avoid the custard running out.
- For a dairy free version, you could substitute the milk with a dairy free milk and the butter with a vegetable oil or butter of your choice.
Store the pumpkin bougatsa at room temperature for up to 3 days and cover with kitchen foil or a towel. The next day the phyllo might not be as crispy as on the first day but it will still taste good.
Nutrition Info (per serving)
I am not a nutritionist. The nutrition information has been calculated using an on-line calculator, and is intended for information and guidance purposes only. If the nutrition information is important to you, you should consider calculating it yourself, using your preferred tool.