A syrupy custard pie “Galaktoboureko” is a traditional Greek dessert. Made with phyllo pastry, filled with a semolina cream, and soaked in syrup. It’s a dessert made to amaze. In Greece, it’s as famous as Baklava which I’m sure you are already familiar with.
In other words, “Galaktoboureko” is the alter ego of the Greek Baklava. They are both made with phyllo and syrup but the “Galaktoboureko” has a soft creamy filling instead of a crunchy nutty one.
You probably are not familiar with semolina. If so, let me tell you what it is. Semolina is the coarse, purified wheat middlings of wheat. It’s used mostly in pasta making, but in various desserts also. Especially in Eastern countries. If you are wondering how it tastes, it’s almost identical in flavor to a wheat baby food. Yeap, it’s pretty yummy.
See my other recipes using semolina:
How To Make Galaktoboureko
It’s pretty simple. First, you make the cream which takes about 10-minutes and set it aside. You add the phyllo sheets into the pan greasing the phyllo’s very well with butter. Pour the cream on top and cover with some more phyllo sheets.
Then bake it at low temperature for about an hour, while you prepare the syrup. And once it comes out of the oven, you pour the hot syrup on top. Nothing more to do, except, cutting a big piece for yourself and enjoy your efforts. Since it’s a custard pie, it can be eaten warm also. In Greece, we usually eat it cold. Just like with Greek Rice Pudding, it really depends on your mood and the temperature. There are no restrictions as on how to eat it, hot or cold!
To achieve a very crispy crust on this sweet pie, you have to bake it for 50 minutes or up to 1 hour on a lower heat. The phyllo should look a deep golden brown color and very very crispy to the touch. Also, the pie should move inside the pan when you shake it. This is how you can tell if it has baked properly at the bottom as well.
And make sure the syrup is thickened enough when poured over the pie so it will kind of “glaze” the top of the phyllo and not soften it.
Best Galaktoboureko Recipe Syrupy Custard Pie With Filo
For The Custard Filling:
For The Pie:
- 250 grams / 8.8 oz butter melted
- 1 package (450 grams) phyllo pastry sheets
For The Syrup:
- 800 grams / 1 lb + 12 oz sugar
- 350 grams / 12.3 oz water
- 1 lemon peel
- 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Make The Custard Filling:
- Add the milk along with the sugar and vanilla extract in a cooking pot and heat over medium-high heat.
- In a small bowl beat the eggs with a hand whisk. Place the bowl on a dampened sponge cloth next to the cooking pot (this will help keep the bowl in place while stirring on the next step).
- Once the milk starts to get steamy hot, just before boiling point, turn the heat off. With a ladle, take spoonfuls of the hot milk and start pouring it, threadlike, into the eggs while whisking the eggs constantly with a hand whisk. Do this, until ⅔ of the hot milk is incorporated into the eggs. Then transfer the egg-milk mixture back into the cooking pot.
- Turn the heat back on to medium. Start adding the semolina while keep stirring the cream with the hand whisk. After a few minutes, the cream will start to thicken. The more you cook the semolina the thicker the cream will get. At this point, you shouldn't let the cream get too thick, as it is going to get baked in the oven as well. Remove the pot from the heat, when the cream's consistency resembles that of a thick pancake batter.
- Once you take the cream off the heat, toss in the butter and keep stirring with the whisk until the butter melts completely. Then set aside and start assembling the pie.
For The Pie:
- Preheat oven to 170°C/ 338°F.
- Lay open the stack of phyllo on your working surface.
- Grease a 12-inch (31 cm) round baking pan with some of the melted butter.
- Take one phyllo sheet and place it in the pan so half of it (lengthwise) covers the bottom of the pan while the remaining half hangs out of the pan.
- Add 7 more phyllo sheets in the same way all around, drizzling and brushing lightly with butter on every 2 phyllo sheets.
- Pour the cream into the pan and spread it evenly with a spoon.
- Take the remaining phyllo sheets and place them folded on the surface of the cream. They won't fit perfectly into the pan but that's ok as you'll overlap them all on top at the end. Drizzle and brush each one with butter.
- Once you have placed all of the remaining phyllo sheets on top, start overlapping the phyllo that hangs out of the pan, on top. The surface of this pie doesn't have to be smooth. So you don't have to flatten the phyllo sheets on top. In fact, the fluffier and wavier they look the more crispy the final result will be.
- So once all the phyllo is nicely tucked into the pan, covering the cream completely all over, drizzle all of the remaining butter on top. Then lightly tap with the pastry brush so the butter spreads evenly everywhere and all the phyllo kind of sticks together.
- Drizzle the top of the pie very lightly with water (more like thick spray drops). Bake for about 50 minutes to 1 hour. Or until the phyllo has turned deep golden brown and very crispy on top, and when you shake the pan you see the pie moving inside the pan.
- Turn off your oven and leave it open, let the pie inside the oven to keep warm while you make the syrup.
Make The Syrup:
- Add all of the ingredients for the syrup in a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Once it starts to boil, reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 5-6 minutes until sugar dissolves completely and it gets to a syrupy consistency. Do not stir. Just shake the pot if needed.
- Remove from heat and let the syrup stand for 5 minutes. Then ladle it over the pie.
- Let the Galaktoboureko reach room temperature, then either cut and serve or if you prefer it cold, refrigerate for 3 hours before cutting and serving.
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