The perfect Galaktoboureko recipe

recipe main Galaktoboureko 2

recipe main Galaktoboureko 2

Galaktoboureko is Greece’s famous custard pie made from semolina, layered in crispy pastry, then soaked in a lemon syrup! Everyone has their own tips and tricks to making the perfect Galaktoboureko and today we share famous Greek chef Aki Petretzikis’ version of this all-time favorite traditional Greek dessert!


For syrup

  • 800 g granulated sugar
  • 450 g water
  • 1 stick(s) cinnamon
  • peel, of 1 lemon
  • 75 g honey

For custard filling

  • 4 eggs
  • 200 g granulated sugar
  • 500 g heavy cream 35%
  • 500 g milk, 3,5%
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 vanilla pods
  • 170 g semolina
  • 100 g butter
  • 220 g butter, melted for brushing phyllo
  • 450 g phyllo dough sheets


  • Combine the sugar, water, cinnamon stick and lemon rind (no pith) in a pot. Place over heat and bring to a boil
  • As soon as it comes to a boil, mix with a spoon to make sure the sugar has dissolved completely. The mixture should be translucent.
  • When ready, add the honey and remove from heat. Give it a stir and set the syrup aside to cool.

For the custard filling

  • Beat the eggs along with half the sugar in a mixer for 3-4 minutes.
  • The mixture needs to become very fluffy and become a light meringue and set aside until needed.
  • In a pot, add the heavy cream, milk, the remaining sugar, a pinch of salt, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Place over medium to high heat and bring to a boil.
  • As soon as you see that the mixture is bubbling, add the semolina and whisk for about 3-4 minutes until it thickens.
  • When the whisk leaves streaks in the mixture, it means it has thickened enough and it is ready.
  • Remove from heat and add the butter. Continue whisking until the butter melts and is completely incorporated.
  • Use a spatula and transfer mixture to a mixer's bowl. Beat for 4-5 minutes, until the mixture cools a little. Turn off the mixture and check that it is lukewarm.
  • When ready, add the egg to the bowl and gently fold with a spoon. Your custard filling is ready.
  • Preheat oven to 160* C (320* F) Fan.
  • Melt the butter in the microwave or in a saucepan. Generously brush a 25x35 cm or 35x40 cm baking pan with some of the melted butter.
  • Start assembling the pie by spreading a sheet of phyllo dough in the pan and drizzle with butter. Do not brush the butter straight on to the phyllo, drizzle it from above.
  • Repeat the same process with the remaining 5 sheets of phyllo dough. Very gently press down on the phyllo with your hands, just a little.
  • Spread the custard on top and turn in the phyllo that is hanging over the edges. Drizzle with butter.
  • Set 1 sheet of phyllo dough aside and add the remaining sheets over the custard, drizzling each one with melted butter in the same way as before.
  • Carefully cover with the final sheet you set aside. Use your pastry brush to help you turn it inwards, towards the bottom of the pan to seal the sweet.
  • Drizzle a generous amount of melted butter over the top of the sweet and spray with some water.
  • Score the top of the pie into 10-12 pieces and then cut into them and pour the remaining butter on top.
  • Bake for 1 ½ hours or until golden brown and crunchy.
  • When ready, remove from oven and immediately pour the cold syrup over the pie.

*For more of Akis' delicious Greek recipes head to his website