Here is the recipe for one of the most well known and most popular Greek desserts, Galaktoboureko, which is essentially a Greek Custard Pie! It is a very rich and decadent sweet. The creamy custard, the crunchy layers of filo pastry, together with the cinnamon and clove sugar syrup, all add to the richness of this Greek dessert.
The Hellenic Odyssey in Melbourne, Australia, recently hosted a Galaktoboureko making cooking class demonstration, where they baked both the semolina and the cornflour versions. They then asked the participants to vote on their favourite version. It was a majority vote for the semolina version, the traditional classic recipe and they’re sharing it with us today!
Ingredients for Galaktoboureko Greek Custard Pie
250g good quality butter, melted for brushing the filo sheets
1 packet filo pastry (we use the Antoniou brand)
1 cup fine semolina
1 cup caster sugar
6 cups milk
5 egg yolks
1 packet vanilla sugar
Combine the sugar, cinnamon stick, cloves and water in a saucepan over medium heat, stir to dissolve. Once the syrup reaches boiling point, boil for 8-10 minutes.
Remove the syrup from the heat and set aside to cool.
Beat the eggs yolks along with half of the sugar for 2-3 minutes with a hand whisk.
Add the milk, remaining sugar, semolina, and vanilla sugar to a saucepan. Place over low to medium heat to start to warm slightly and add in the egg mixture. Continue to stir with a wooden spoon until it begins to thicken, which can take up to 15-20 minutes or so.
Then, as soon as you see that the mixture begins to bubble, turn off the heat and continue to mix for 3-4 minutes until the mixture cools a little. Once the mixture has cooled, if it appears too thick, you can thin it down with a quarter of a cup of milk or so until it is a silky smooth consistency.
To Assemble the Galaktoboureko Greek Custard Pie
Preheat oven to 180C.
Generously brush a baking tray with melted butter.
Start assembling the galaktoboureko. Spread a sheet of filo pastry into the baking tray and brush with butter. Repeat the same process with half of the remaining sheets of filo pastry. Make sure you leave the pastry edges to slightly overhang outside of the tray (this will allow you to envelope over the pastry after the custard has been added)
Spread the custard on top and turn in the filo that is hanging over the edges and brush these sheets with butter.
Add the remaining sheets over the custard, brushing each one with melted butter. Tucking the sides in and buttering as you each one as you layer it.
Carefully cover it with the final sheet. Use your pastry brush to help you tuck the filo pastry inwards, towards the bottom of the pan to seal all the pastry in.
Drizzle a generous amount of melted butter over the top.
Score the top of the pie into pieces and pour the remaining butter on top.
Finally, bake the pie for 1 hour or until golden brown and crunchy.
Then when ready, remove from oven and immediately pour the cold syrup over the top.
To serve: The galaktoboureko can be served warm or cooled and refrigerated.