18 pieces of Athens Fillo pastry sheets, 9X14", thawed
1/2 cup of butter or more, melted
1/2 pound cream cheese
1 pound ricotta cheese, fresh
1 pound cottage cheese, small curd
2 cups sugar, granulated (*See notes)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
zest from one lemon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
powdered sugar, cinnamon, lemon zest and honey (garnish)
Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese on high speed until light and fluffy. Lower the speed and add the ricotta, cottage cheese, 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar and the nutmeg. Beat for 1 minute at high speed, then set aside while you prepare the fillo.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Lay the fillo flat on a table and keep covered with a damp towel over waxed paper or plastic wrap. By stacking 4 sheets, form a base of 15 X 18 inches, brushing the top of each sheet with melted butter as you stack them. Then lay 2 sheets at right angles over the center, using the "base" as a diamond, not a square, brushing the center of each with butter.
Divide the filling into 3 parts and spread one part over the fillo to form a 7-inch square. Set the rest of the filling aside. Fold the top fillo sheet over the cheese and brush with butter, and continue folding the fillo over the cheese to make a square, brushing each time with butter.
With a wide spatula, lift the Bougatsa and invert onto a cookie sheet. Brush the top with butter and set aside. Repeat with the remaining fillo, filling until all 3 square pastries are folded. Sprinkle pastries with additional sugar before baking.
Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until the fillo puffs up and turns a golden color. Cut into small squares, brush with honey and additional sugar and sprinkle with garnish.
The large amount of sugar is for dusting and I even sprinkle some sugar over the dough, even between the sheets of fillo, before adding the cheese filling. For garnish, you can sprinkle more granulated sugar or sprinkle with powdered sugar, some cinnamon and even lemon zest