Custard with Orange in Phyllo Rolls “Bougatsa”

by Mary Papoulias-Platis

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When my daughter Stephanie visited Greece one summer she came home boasting about the delicious pastry “bougatsa” that she experienced in the city of Athens.  Oranges are abundant here in California so I changed the recipe from lemon which is traditional to orange zest. Feel free to substitute either one. Bougatsa is served warm for breakfast, so the you can prepare the rolls and refrigerate the same day until you are ready to pop them in the oven. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and cinnamon and you have a unique and delicious breakfast or late night desert.

Custard with Orange in Phyllo Rolls "Bougatsa"

Our favorite custard wrapped in phyllo-oh my!
Course Dessert
Cuisine Greek
Keyword bougasta, cream, dessert, phyllo
Author Mary Papoulias-Platis



  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup fine semolina
  • Zest of one orange
  • Juice of one orange
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 stick butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 1 teaspoon cold water
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar, might need more
  • 1/4 cup cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted for phyllo
  • 1/2 pound phyllo dough, 1/2 pound, defrosted
  • Extra butter for phyllo sheets


  1. In a medium saucepan add milk, sugar and orange zest and juice. Bring to a medium heat and cook until it begins to thicken.
  2. Dissolve the cornstarch in cold water. Add the semolina, cornstarch, and water to the cream. Cook until it coats the back of your spoon about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat, and add the eggs one at a time, stirring constantly. Place back on a low setting and cook the mixture, until thickened.
  4. Remove from the heat and add the butter. Let cool slightly.
  5. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  6. Lay out one sheet of phyllo on wax or parchment paper. Brush with butter. Repeat with one more sheet. Cut in 1/2 lengthwise.
  7. Place 2-3 tablespoons of mixture on the bottom of the sheet. Fold phyllo over cream and roll, folding sides inward as you roll.
  8. Place seam side down on a buttered sheet pan, and brush with butter.
  9. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until lightly brown.
  10. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and cinnamon and serve warm.

Best in Health,



You may like many of my other phyllo desserts:

Cherry Phyllo Strudel 

Blood Orange Ice Cream in Phyllo Cups

Greek Apple and Feta Pies

I do have a sweet tooth, hopefully you do too!



© 2011 – 2023, Mary Papoulias-Platis. All rights reserved.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 nancy

Mary, these sound wonderful. Having friends for dinner next week and think I’ll make these for dessert.
Thanks for another great reciepe.

2 Angela

I love bougatsa. Thank you for reminding me of this ! Is the filling for galatoboureko any different?

3 Mary Papoulias-Platis

Yes, the filling is thicker, so that you can easily roll it in the phyllo. No syrup is added to the bougatsa as in the galatoboureko.

4 Mary Papoulias-Platis

Your welcome! Enjoy!

5 Annie

Hi there,
You have separated the butter. Are you using all of it (1/2 cup plus 1/2 stick) in the filling? Or some of it is for brushing the filli?

Thank you

6 Mary Papoulias-Platis

Hi Annie, You are right! The other 1/2 is for the phyllo. I will correct the recipe, and make it essier to read.

7 Yvette

Can you freeze these if so at what stage before baking or after

8 Mary Papoulias-Platis

Yes Yvette,
Yes! Freeze right before baking. No sugar on top. Best of Luck, Mary

9 Virginia

It is April 22, 2021 Did you fix the butter error in the recipe listed above? I want make this tonight. They look really good. Thanks for sharing

10 Mary Papoulias-Platis

Hello Virgina,
Look for Bobs Red Mill, they make a semolina. Or find it online,
Try a Middle Eastern store they also may carry it.

11 Mary Papoulias-Platis

Yes, Virginia, I corrected the recipe. Thank you for pointing it out!

12 Athena

Mary, Happy New Year – Xronia Polla! I have been using your excellent Vasilopita recipe for years and just made your bougatses this morning for the first time. They were delicious and easier than I expected. Thank you for the recipe. Your last name is my maiden name so -who knows- maybe a connection there too! Take care….Athena

13 Mary Papoulias-Platis

Happy New Year! Thank you for the kind words. My father Thanasi was from Psiri where many Papoulias’ live! A beautiful and quaint town in Greece.
Perhaps we are related, Mary

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