Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Galaktoboureko: Custard-filled Phyllo Pastry

Today I have an expiring gallon of milk so I decided to make my all time favorite Greek Desert. In Greek: γαλακτομπούρεκο, pronounced ghah-lahk-toh-BOO-reh-ko. It is called Galaktoboureko because it is made with lots of Gala which means milk in Greek. BTW How long does milk last after the expiration date>>

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Tonight's Music Blip


* 6 eggs
* 1 cup of sugar
* 1 cup of semolina (fine grind), cream of wheat, or rice flour
* 1/2 teaspoon of grated lemon peel
* 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
* 6 cups of whole milk (1 1/2 quarts)
* 1/2 - 1 cup of butter, melted
* 1 pound of commercial phyllo dough sheets, defrosted
* ------------
* For the syrup:
* 1 1/3 cups of sugar
* 1 cup of water
* 1 1/2 tablespoons of lemon juice
* 1 slice of lemon peel


1. Make the syrup: In a saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil over medium-low heat. Add the lemon peel, reduce heat to low, and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, add lemon juice (do not stir) and set aside, away from the heat, to cool.

2. Make the filling: With an electric mixer on high speed, beat 2 eggs with 1/3 the sugar until light and frothy, add 2 more eggs and another 1/3 of the sugar, and repeat. Continue beating for 2 minutes. Add the semolina, lemon juice, and grated lemon peel. Continue beating and add the milk and 2 tablespoons of the melted butter. Beat for another 5-6 minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy.

3. Preheat the oven to 350F (175C)

4. Pour the filling into a pot and heat over medium heat. Stir vigorously with a whisk until it thickens to the consistency of ketchup (or puréed baby food). Remove from heat immediately and set aside.

5. Make the dessert: I like to use a rectangle pan the same size of the phyllo dough but you can also use an 11-inch diameter round baking pan. Brush the bottom, sides, and rim of the pan with melted butter. Open the phyllo dough and count the sheets. Half will be used on the bottom, half on top.

6. Lay one sheet of phyllo on the bottom of the pan, starting at one side and letting excess phyllo extend over one side if you are using a round pan. Brush the phyllo on the bottom of the pan with butter. Lay another sheet over the first, brush with butter, and continue until half the phyllo sheets have been used.

7. Give the custard a quick whisk and spoon with a spatula over the bottom layer of phyllo sheets, spreading evenly so it covers the bottom out to the sides with no gaps and no air bubbles.

Note: If you are inexperiened with phyllo, check my video to learn how butter and add the syrup to galaktoboureko.

8. Top layer of phyllo: Brush each phyllo sheet with with butter, then one at a time, fold in the extending pieces butter the tops. If you are using a round pan fold in corners as well so all the phyllo is inside the pan and brushed with butter. When all the phyllo has been used brush the top with butter.

9. Cut the galaktoboureko into serving-sized pieces (I cut 20) using a very sharp knife to cut all the way through to the bottom. The phyllo and custard filling are delicate so cut with care. (My mother-in-law uses a razor to do the first cut and then follow up with a knife. I've also heard that some use an electric knife.)

10. Bake on one rack lower than the middle of the oven at 350F (175C) for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

11. Remove from the oven and pour the cooled syrup evenly over the hot pastry. Pour up to and around the edges. Set aside and allow to cool and absorb the syrup (a few hours). Serve sprinkled with cinnamon if desired.

Yield: 20 pieces

Galaktoboureko should be eaten within a day or two. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

For a change of taste: In the filling, substitute the grated lemon peel and lemon juice with grated orange peel and strained orange juice.


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