Chef Chris Lardakis refuses to give up his family’s top-secret recipe for Greek yogurt, which he stuffs into French toast and tops with apple-jalapeno chutney at his new Lakeview breakfast spot, Kanela (Greek for cinnamon).
We’ll have to settle for the next best thing: his yiayia’s (grandma) bougatsa recipe. Lardakis says a family meal isn’t complete without the flaky, sweet treat.
Serves four to six
2 c. milk
1 lemon peel
¾ c. butter
¼ c. fine semolina
½ c. sugar
2 egg yolks
½ tsp. vanilla
10 sheets phyllo pastry
½ tsp. kanela (cinnamon)
1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Warm milk and lemon peel in a saucepan.
3. Melt butter in a separate pan (save ¼ c. for later).
4. Add hot milk to butter, continuously stirring.
5. Stir in semolina with a wooden spoon, then remove from stove, stirring continuously until thickened (make sure the top does not crust).
6. In a mixing bowl, beat sugar, eggs, yolks, and vanilla.
7. Slowly add mixture to semolina, stirring until it resembles custard. Remove lemon peel; cover the pan and set aside to cool.
8. Brush a baking pan with leftover butter. Line the pan with six phyllo sheets, brushing each with butter.
9. Spread custard over phyllo. Fold over excess phyllo, then top with four leftover sheets, making sure to butter each sheet.
10. Bake 30-35 minutes until golden brown.
11. Remove from oven and cut into any size. Sprinkle with kanela and powdered sugar. Serve warm. (Lardakis adds fresh fruit, whipped cream, and — you guessed it — extra cinnamon.)
For more Greek goodness, go to Kanela Breakfast Club, 3231 North Clark Street, between Belmont Avenue and School Street (773-248-1622).
Photo: Alpha / Flickr