It was 11 years ago at a small Greek food fair in San Jose, CA that my life was irrevocably transformed for the better. After an amazing meal of spitted roast lamb, redolent with garlic and oregano, I wandered over to the dessert kiosk.
There, I saw baklava…and something else. Baklava, but it appeared to have custard between the layers of phyllo! Never having met a custard I didn’t like, I asked for a piece.
It was a revelation – sweet, wonderfully palate-filling and sinfully rich.
I asked its name.
…and thus was my lifelong doom ensured. 😉
Galaktoboureko (gah-lahk-toh-BOO-reh-koh) can easily become your favorite Greek pastry as well – what’s not to love about custard and flaky phyllo dough baked to perfection and then soaked in lemon and orange-infused syrup? 🙂
The only downside is that it is best served the same day it is made. Once refrigerated past 12 hours, it is no longer celestial – so eat it ALL! 🙂
I added some enhancements to the classic recipe, adding a touch of vanilla and rosewater and adding orange flavor from a good shot of Grand Marnier. It adds more rounded depth to the final product, IMHO. I also removed the cinnamon used in the original recipe, as I am not fond of that spice. Feel free to dust your cut piece with some before eating/serving.
I dedicate this Galaktoboureko recipe to my dear friend John Zacharakis, whose favorite dessert this is. 🙂
Battle on – The GeneralissimoPrint
The Hirshon Galaktoboureko – γαλακτομπούρεκο
- Total Time: 0 hours
- 4 cups whole milk, preferably from a Jersey cow
- 1/2 cup fine semolina
- 1 cup sugar
- 2/3 cup unsalted butter
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon rosewater
- 1 pound thick, commercial phyllo dough
- 2/3 cup clarified butter, to brush dough
- 3 cups water
- 2 cups sugar
- A good shot of Grand Marnier or Curaçao
- 1/2 lemon
- In a heavy pot, bring the milk to a boil. Sprinkle in the semolina, whisking constantly over very low heat. Add the sugar, then simmer for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring from time to time. Remove from the heat and add the butter and the eggs, 1 by 1, stirring. Blend in the vanilla and rosewater. The mixture will be thick but pourable, like a sauce.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Butter a deep 10-inch baking pan. In the bottom of the pan, layer 8 sheets of phyllo, leaving the edges hanging over the sides of the pan. Brush each sheet generously with clarified butter. Pour the milk mixture over the phyllo layers.
- Cut the remaining sheets of phyllo about the size of the pan and brush each sheet with clarified butter. Place the buttered sheets on top of the filling, then brush the hanging bottom sheets with clarified butter and roll them up to seal.
- With a very sharp knife, score the top diagonally in 2 directions to make diamond-shaped slits on the surface. (This makes it easier to cut later, and also allows the syrup to penetrate the pie.) Sprinkle with a little water and bake about 1 hour, or until top is light brown and filling has set.
- The minute you start baking the pie, begin to make the syrup. Simmer the water with sugar and the ½ of lemon and the orange liqueur for about 1 hour. Remove the lemon half and squeeze the juice into the syrup. Discard the lemon. Pour the syrup over the pie the minute you take it out of the oven. Be careful, syrup will bubble vigorously and can burn you.
- Let cool, and serve, cutting pieces along the slits that you made before baking the pie.
- Prep Time: 0 hours
- Cook Time: 0 hours
- Category: Recipes
- Calories: 1598.95 kcal
- Sugar: 162.97 g
- Sodium: 959.9 mg
- Fat: 51.08 g
- Saturated Fat: 27.36 g
- Trans Fat: 1.26 g
- Carbohydrates: 256.61 g
- Fiber: 4.2 g
- Protein: 27.53 g
- Cholesterol: 265.7 mg
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