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Galaktoboureko - Custard Pie

by , featured in Philoxenia: A Seat At My Table
Published by Hardie Grant
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Introduction

I have childhood memories of my mum, Sia, making galaktoboureko as a special treat for us, and till this day it remains a special treat. This semolina custard baked in phyllo with a sugary sweet syrup is dessert heaven. Remember when making this dish that either the phyllo or the syrup must be cold and the other hot when you pour the syrup all over the pastry. When I am pouring the syrup, I love to bend down and listen to the dish as the hot phyllo and cold syrup meet together and you can hear it crackle. The longer you leave the syrup to sit in the phyllo before eating, the sweeter and better it is to eat.

My mum’s tip is to make the syrup and let it cool while the pastry is cooking, then it’s ready to pour over once it is fresh out of the oven.

I have childhood memories of my mum, Sia, making galaktoboureko as a special treat for us, and till this day it remains a special treat. This semolina custard baked in phyllo with a sugary sweet syrup is dessert heaven. Remember when making this dish that either the phyllo or the syrup must be cold and the other hot when you pour the syrup all over the pastry. When I am pouring the syrup, I love to bend down and listen to the dish as the hot phyllo and cold syrup meet together and you can hear it crackle. The longer you leave the syrup to sit in the phyllo before eating, the sweeter and better it is to eat.

My mum’s tip is to make the syrup and let it cool while the pastry is cooking, then it’s ready to pour over once it is fresh out of the oven.

Image of Kon and Sia Karapanagiotidis' Custard Pie
Photo by Sarah Pannell

Ingredients

Serves: 10-12

Metric Cups
  • 250 grams butter (melted)
  • 375 grams Greek phyllo pastry (about 18–22 sheets)
  • ground cinnamon (for sprinkling)

CUSTARD FILLING

  • 1½ litres milk
  • 220 grams sugar
  • 125 grams fine semolina
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • zest of ½ lemon
  • 3 eggs (beaten)
  • 40 grams unsalted butter

SYRUP

  • 440 grams white sugar
  • 250 millilitres water
  • 2 cloves
  • ½ lemon
  • 9 ounces butter (melted)
  • 12½ ounces Greek phyllo pastry (about 18–22 sheets)
  • ground cinnamon (for sprinkling)

CUSTARD FILLING

  • 6 cups milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup fine semolina
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • zest of ½ lemon
  • 3 eggs (beaten)
  • 1½ ounces unsalted butter

SYRUP

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cloves
  • ½ lemon

Method

Galaktoboureko - Custard Pie is a guest recipe by Kon and Sia Karapanagiotidis so we are not able to answer questions regarding this recipe

  1. To make the custard filling, gently heat milk in a medium pot or saucepan over a low heat. Add sugar after milk has heated, and stir until dissolved. Gradually pour in the semolina, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the mixture starts to simmer and thicken. Add vanilla and lemon zest and continue to cook, continuously stirring, until the mixture is thick like a béchamel sauce (if it does not thicken, add more semolina). Remove from heat.
  2. Add eggs, stirring, then add butter and stir until thick, soft and smooth. If the mixture is a bit too thick, you can add a little more milk and keep stirring until it becomes nice and soft.
  3. Brush a deep baking tray (I used one that was about 33 cm/13 in × 24 cm/9½ in and 7 cm/2¾ in high) with the melted butter. Arrange 8 phyllo sheets over the base of the baking tray. As you lay each phyllo sheet, drop the melted butter all over each sheet in dollops rather than brushing it (if you brush the butter on the phyllo, it will stick and won’t make it fluffy). Once you have laid half the sheets on the tray, spread with all the custard filling. Repeat the process with 8 more phyllo sheets, dotting with melted butter as you go, keeping 1 sheet aside to finish.
  4. Now you will have the bottom and top phyllo sheets hanging over the edges of your baking tray, as they will be wider than it. Take any sheets that hang over and cut them off with a small sharp knife and then fold any final rough edges into the dish and use your brush to butter them all over to keep them in place.
  5. Now to make your dish look beautiful and hide these rough leftover parts, you will add one final phyllo sheet on top. Fold underneath any excess phyllo or cut using a small sharp knife. If there is still any part overhanging the tray, cut so you have a nice even top that covers the whole dish. Now butter over all of this final phyllo sheet using your brush.
  6. An important final step is to cut the galaktoboureko into the shape and size you want, as you can’t do this once baked.
  7. Preheat the oven to 180°C (360°F). Bake for 40–50 minutes until golden.
  8. Meanwhile, prepare your syrup, combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over a medium heat, bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, or until sugar is dissolved. Remove the lemon from the syrup. Remember, for best results, your syrup must be cold and your pastry hot.
  9. My mum’s tip is to make the syrup and let it cool while the pastry is cooking, then it’s ready to pour over once it is fresh out of the oven. Allow the pastry to sit for 2 minutes, then pour the cold syrup all over slowly and, using kitchen gloves, gently shake the tray side to side to help it absorb. Leave for a little to let the syrup soak in, then sprinkle with ground cinnamon to serve.
  1. To make the custard filling, gently heat milk in a medium pot or saucepan over a low heat. Add sugar after milk has heated, and stir until dissolved. Gradually pour in the semolina, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the mixture starts to simmer and thicken. Add vanilla and lemon zest and continue to cook, continuously stirring, until the mixture is thick like a béchamel sauce (if it does not thicken, add more semolina). Remove from heat.
  2. Add eggs, stirring, then add butter and stir until thick, soft and smooth. If the mixture is a bit too thick, you can add a little more milk and keep stirring until it becomes nice and soft.
  3. Brush a deep baking tray (I used one that was about 33 cm/13 in × 24 cm/9½ in and 7 cm/2¾ in high) with the melted butter. Arrange 8 phyllo sheets over the base of the baking tray. As you lay each phyllo sheet, drop the melted butter all over each sheet in dollops rather than brushing it (if you brush the butter on the phyllo, it will stick and won’t make it fluffy). Once you have laid half the sheets on the tray, spread with all the custard filling. Repeat the process with 8 more phyllo sheets, dotting with melted butter as you go, keeping 1 sheet aside to finish.
  4. Now you will have the bottom and top phyllo sheets hanging over the edges of your baking tray, as they will be wider than it. Take any sheets that hang over and cut them off with a small sharp knife and then fold any final rough edges into the dish and use your brush to butter them all over to keep them in place.
  5. Now to make your dish look beautiful and hide these rough leftover parts, you will add one final phyllo sheet on top. Fold underneath any excess phyllo or cut using a small sharp knife. If there is still any part overhanging the tray, cut so you have a nice even top that covers the whole dish. Now butter over all of this final phyllo sheet using your brush.
  6. An important final step is to cut the galaktoboureko into the shape and size you want, as you can’t do this once baked.
  7. Preheat the oven to 180°C (360°F). Bake for 40–50 minutes until golden.
  8. Meanwhile, prepare your syrup, combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over a medium heat, bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, or until sugar is dissolved. Remove the lemon from the syrup. Remember, for best results, your syrup must be cold and your pastry hot.
  9. My mum’s tip is to make the syrup and let it cool while the pastry is cooking, then it’s ready to pour over once it is fresh out of the oven. Allow the pastry to sit for 2 minutes, then pour the cold syrup all over slowly and, using kitchen gloves, gently shake the tray side to side to help it absorb. Leave for a little to let the syrup soak in, then sprinkle with ground cinnamon to serve.

Additional Information

MAKE IT VEGAN:
Replace the eggs with a vegan egg mix or omit, and use soy milk or almond milk and vegan butter.

MAKE IT GLUTEN-FREE:
Use gluten-free phyllo pastry.

WHAT TO DO WITH LEFTOVERS:
Seal the leftovers in plastic containers and refrigerate; the leftovers will still be fine to enjoy for the week to come.

MAKE IT VEGAN:
Replace the eggs with a vegan egg mix or omit, and use soy milk or almond milk and vegan butter.

MAKE IT GLUTEN-FREE:
Use gluten-free phyllo pastry.

WHAT TO DO WITH LEFTOVERS:
Seal the leftovers in plastic containers and refrigerate; the leftovers will still be fine to enjoy for the week to come.

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PeachMelba Pavlova