Creamy Semolina Pie

I used the Greek name for this creamy semolina pie, but I could've easily given it an Austrian, Hungarian, Serbian, or even a Turkish equivalent. They each have their own versions of this dessert and the differences between them are often minor, and yet sometimes the regional recipes in two different countries are more alike then ones from neighbouring counties in the same country. This is a simplified version of Bougatsa, as it's traditionally made with home made filo pastry (which I have every intention of making some day) and often with an egg custard, all depends who you ask, and which part of Greece you are in. 

By making this pie, I just wanted to fulfil an urge of eating something from my childhood, which was far away from Greece, but very close to Austria and Hungary and I did it by baking one of  the Greek classics. Food doesn't care for borders.

Although the simplest way to enjoy the creaminess of this pie wrapped in a crispy filo-pastry is to dust it generously with icing sugar and cinnamon, I always liked it fridge-cold ( it was my ice-cream substitute, which, funnily enough was never my favourite dessert, even when I was a child) topped with blueberry jam and some fresh berries.
Gosh, I so sincerely hope that I don't have readers from  the Greek community for this post!

Bougatsa - Semolina Pie

400g filo pastry
120g sugar
90 g fine semolina
pinch of salt
1 tbsp soft unsalted butter
1 packet bourbon vanilla sugar
750 ml milk
120 g unsalted butter
icing sugar and cinnamon to dust

Oven temperature 200 C/400F/gas 6
Round 20 cm baking tin

Combine the sugar and milk and bring to simmer, gradually add the semolina and pinch of salt and cook for couple of minutes until the mixture thickness, but not too much.Take it off the heat, add tablespoon of butter and the vanilla. Cover the surface with non-stick paper and leave to cool completely.
Melt the remaining butter and brush the baking tin, set the rest aside. You will need 10 layers of pastry for the bottom and 10 for the top. If your pastry sheets are large enough, cut them accordingly. Since you need just a squarer cut for the top, I suggest you divide every sheet in 2:1 ratio, two thirds for the bottom layers, one third to form ten layers square for the top.
Brush the layer generously with butter and lay it in the tin with the edges overhanging, then repeat with another 9 sheets changing the angle slightly with every new layer. Fill the tin with semolina mixture over the filo. Trim the rest of the filo pastry into square big enough to cover the middle part of the tin, brush each layer with butter and place in the centre over semolina mixture. Fold the overhanging edges towards centre, trim if necessary and brush with butter. Bake in a preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until golden in colour. Allow to cool  and serve warm, or cold.

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