Also known as a Greek custard dessert, this sweet and sticky galaktoboureko recipe will become a new family favourite.
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To make the lemon syrup, place the sugar, cinnamon, lemon rind and 1¼ cups (310ml) water in a medium saucepan. Place over high heat and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 mins or until the syrup thickens slightly. Remove from the heat and stir in lemon juice and honey. Set aside to cool.
To make the custard filling, place the milk, cream, vanilla and 1¼ cups (275g) of the sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for 6-8 mins or until the mixture just comes to a simmer and the sugar dissolves. Whisk constantly, while gradually adding the semolina in a thin, steady stream. Cook for 5 mins or until the mixture thickens. Remove from the heat and whisk in butter. Stir until smooth.
Use an electric mixer to whisk the egg whites and remaining sugar in a clean, dry bowl until thick and glossy.
Add the egg yolks to the milk mixture and stir to combine. Fold in egg white mixture in 2 batches, gently folding with a metal spoon until just combined.
Preheat oven to 170°C. Brush a 22cm x 34cm (base measurement) 6cm high roasting pan with a little of the melted butter.
Place a sheet of filo pastry on the base of the prepared pan, folding in any excess and brushing liberally with butter. Repeat this layering with half the remaining filo and butter. Pour the custard into the pan and spread evenly. Top with a filo sheet and brush with butter. Continue layering with remaining filo and butter.
Using a sharp knife, cut the galaktoboureko through top filo layer into 16 pieces. Brush over cuts with any remaining butter.
Bake for 45-50 mins or until pastry is golden brown and a knife inserted into custard centre comes out clean.
Strain cooled syrup over hot galaktoboureko. Set aside, uncovered, at room temperature for at least 3 hours to develop the flavours.
You can score your galaktoboureko into as many pieces as you like or in whatever shape you prefer.
COOK. STORE. SAVE.
The syrup and custard can be prepared up to 2 days in advance. Store the custard in the fridge for up to 2 days.
Galaktoboureko is best served at room temperature and will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for 4-5 days.
If you don’t finish your galaktoboureko on the same day, it can be stored in the refrigerator for 4-5 days, however, the filo pastry may not remain as crunchy.
The Greek dessert Galaktoboureko is a traditional milk-based custard slice (‘gala’ means ‘milk’ in Greek) that is made from layers of golden filo pastry, butter and creamy custard drizzled with a sweet and sticky syrup. You’ll need to set aside a few hours to make this recipe for galaktoboureko, including 35 minutes of prep time and at least 3 hours to cool the finished custard pie, however, it’s well worth the effort! It serves up to 16 people and is the perfect show-stopping dessert to serve at Orthodox Easter, at your next dinner party, or just when you’re craving something sweet.
A good galaktoboureko can be characterised by three different components: the filo pastry, the custard and the syrup. To make the best galaktoboureko, ensure you’re consistently stirring the custard for a glossy, smooth finish. You’ll want to gradually add the semolina for a lump-free mixture. Avoid a dry dessert by ensuring each layer of filo pastry is brushed liberally with butter and simmer your syrup over medium-to-low heat for 10 minutes so it doesn’t burn. While not strictly traditional, feel free to make this dessert dairy-free or vegan by using maple syrup, coconut oil and coconut milk. For a gluten-free version, opt for your own homemade gluten-free pastry.
If you’re organised, you can prepare both the syrup and custard ahead of time. In doing so, all you have to do is assemble galaktoboureko on the day and bake until golden. Just allow enough time for the galaktoboureko to cool before serving.
Preparing a Greek-inspired feast? Try these recipes for tsoureki (Greek Easter bread), Greek lamb roast with oregano salt and skordalia or these Greek-style lemon potatoes. If you’re in the mood for a sweet treat, this Greek almond shortbread, also known as kourambiethes is also a great recipe to try this weekend.
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