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Bougatsa, a Greek pastry, originated as simple filo dough, known as “pita of the poor.” Evolving post-1922, it spread from northern Greece, featuring various fillings like cream, cheese, meat, spinach, and chocolate …

Close-up of pieces of ‘Bougatsa’ means filo dough with white cream on wood surface and one of the piece is on top of others

Bougatsa is a pastry product that uses the filo to make pita. It is made as a layer of filo, a layer of filling, and another layer of filo. Initially, the bougatsa was simply the filo dough without a filling and was called the “pita of the poor”.

From northern Greece to Epirus to the Peloponnese to Crete, bougatsa became popular allover Greece following the 1922 Asia Minor Greek refugee crisis. In particular, however, in Thessaloniki, Serres, and northern Greece in general, a large number of Asia Minor refugees took up residence. After 1922, the spread of the bougatsa accelerated and the art of making it evolved.

Cream- or cheese-filled bougatsa was spread by the refugee cooks of Serres, in northern Greece. As time passed, other flavors came into use for the filling, including ground meat, spinach and chocolate cream. To make it, a square baking pan is used, since only that shape supports the proper folding of the bougatsa filo.

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