One of the best things about living in Queens was the smorgasbord of international delights. One of the best ever is Galaktoboureko, Greek Pastry. It’s puffed, golden, crispy,perfection! Galaktoboureko is a traditional Greek dessert made with layers of golden brown crispy phyllo, sprinkled with melted butter, filled with the most creamy custard and bathed in scented syrup.
Our row house on Steinway Street and Ditmars Blvd. in Astoria, Queens, New York, was a happening place. Shortly after we arrived in our neighborhood, we wanted to get acquainted with those around us.
We wandered across the street and introduced ourselves to a Greek woman who ran the Victory Sweet Shop. Having tried only baklava before, she selected several of her specialties for us to try. She tied the bakery box with blue and white, thin, cord and such pride. As she handed it to us, in broken English, she admonished us to have them with coffee.
We are not coffee drinkers, but we do enjoy herbal tea. Later that evening, (it was snowy January), we sampled her delicate treats and I instantly fell in love with Galaktoboureko! I planned to only have one bite and ended up polishing it off! It is a Greek pastry with a flaky top and bottom filled with custard and covered with a sweet syrup.
Shopping: Be sure to purchase Phyllo Dough, easy to use pastry sheets. It’s different from puff pastry sheets. Plan to use 1/2 pound of sheets, or half the 1 pound box.
Preparation: For the custard filling you will need whole milk, semolina flour, butter, vanilla and eggs.
While the custard mixture cools, you will layer fillo sheets, brushing each with butter. Ten for the bottom and ten for the top.
To keep the sheets from drying out you’ll need to quickly remove one and then keep them covered with a damp towel.
This is how the pan looks with 10 sheets covering the bottom of a 9×13 non-stick pan.
Baking: Next pour the cooled custard filling into the pan and add 10 more sheets of buttered fillo sheets. Score the top of the pastry into 16 to 24 squares or diamond shapes. Pop into a 350 degree oven to bake for 45 to 50 minutes.
Begin the simple syrup. I like my citrusy! Let it simmer while the pastry bakes.
When the pastry is golden brown and the custard is set, remove from the oven, and let it set for 5 minutes.
Strain your syrup and then pour the hot syrup over the pastry. As it cools the syrup will be absorbed.
A lovely Greek Pastry, Galaktoboureko, on flowery, Spring, china. Serve it along with your favorite warm beverage…maybe a little herbal tea party is in store after a long winter!
Galaktoboureko is a traditional Greek dessert made with a custard in a crispy phyllo pastry shell, covered with a sugar glaze. It's full of creamy custard and best served warm, amazingly delicious!
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 20 servings
6 cups whole milk
1 cup semolina flour
3½ tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup white sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup butter, melted
12 sheets phyllo dough
2½ cups of sugar
1 cup water
1 stick of cinnamon
juice of one fresh lemon
1 whole orange rind
Pour milk into a large saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium heat. In a medium bowl, whisk together the semolina, cornstarch, 1 cup sugar and salt so there are no cornstarch clumps. When milk comes to a boil, gradually add the semolina mixture, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Cook, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens and comes to a full boil. Remove from heat, and set aside. Keep warm.
In a large bowl, beat eggs with an electric mixer at high speed. Add ½ cup of sugar, and whip until thick and pale, about 10 minutes. Stir in vanilla.
Fold the whipped eggs into the hot semolina mixture. Partially cover the pan, and set aside to cool.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Butter a 9x13 inch baking dish, and layer 7 sheets of phyllo into the pan, brushing each one with butter as you lay it in. Pour the custard into the pan over the phyllo, and cover with the remaining 5 sheets of phyllo, brushing each sheet with butter as you lay it down.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes in the preheated oven, until the top crust is crisp and the custard filling has set.
In a small saucepan, stir together sugar, water, cinnamon, lemon, and orange rind. Bring to a boil. When the Galaktoboureko comes out of the oven, spoon the hot sugar syrup over the top, particularly the edges.
Allow it to cool some and set up well before cutting and serving. I think it's best served warm. Store in the refrigerator.
Renée is passionate about making and sharing ALL things delicious! Her happy place really is her kitchen where she loves whipping up memories with her family and friends. Raised in sunny Southern California she's spent her adulthood in Idaho, both sides of her great state. She's married to an amazing man, and together they have 5 children, who gave them five more, and now they have 28 grandchildren. So there’s always a reason to cook and celebrate around their place!
We're Alison and Renée, and we're so glad you've joined us! Our kitchens are our happy place, where we're whipping up memories. Get comfy and check things out. We hope you find inspiring dishes and ways to better your life. Feeling optimistic, trying new things and sharing with those we love brings joy in all we do. It's time to cook, create and celebrate. CHEERS! Read More…
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