Galaktoboureko, (pr. ga-lahk-to-BOO-reh-koh), also written Galaktomboureko or Galatoboureko, is possibly the king of sweets for many in Greece and the one I prefer the most. A fabulous semolina cream, rich and consistent, lies in the middle, between thin layers of crispy phyllo which are bathed in syrup.
It’s one of my favourite desserts and if I didn’t mind the calories, I could eat this for breakfast, lunch and dinner and not want anything else.
In Greece and Cyprus in the old years they used to say that you are not a worthy housewife if you didn’t know how to make thin phyllo from scratch, but nowadays it’s much easier to make galaktomboureko or other recipes using store bought phyllo, because it’s much easier.
You can also make individual ones, wrapped in a roll.
Each phyllo is brushed with local ewes’ and goat butter or in case you cannot find any, clarified butter can also be used. In the middle a semolina pudding flavoured with lemon is added. The remaining phyllos are layered on top and when the dessert is baked a sugar syrup is added on top.
In case you cannot find the fine semolina we use in Greece, the filling can be made with a pastry cream.
Preparation time: 45 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes
- 200 grams clarified butter
- 6 phyllo sheets
- Water to sprinkle on top
- 1 litre milk
- 4 eggs
- 130 grams (about ¾ cup sugar)
- 130 grams fine semolina
- ½ tsp vanilla or citrus essence or 1 packet (10 grams) lemon scented vanilla sugar
- 1 tbsp lemon zest
- 1 tbsp butter (optional)
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 1 cup water
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 3- 4 cloves
- 1 lemon peel
- 4 tbsp lemon juice
- Begin by preparing the syrup first as it has to be cold or at least lukewarm, when pouring it over the galaktoboureko when baked: Put the sugar, water, lemon peel and the spices in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Mix in lemon juice and remove from the heat.
- Clarify the butter.
- Prepare the filling: Heat the milk reserving about half a cup cold milk to add to mixture. In another pot add the semolina, the eggs, sugar and the cold milk and stir well with a balloon whisk. When the milk is hot pour to mixture stirring continuously. Put on the heat and mix constantly until cream sets. Add the butter and vanilla and stir. Set aside for a while to cool.
- Assembling the dessert: Grease a baking pan (25 x 17.5 cm – 10 x 7 inches) with butter. Layer four sheets of phyllo, brushing each one with butter and place them alternating from horizontally to vertically, part of it covering the sides of the baking tin. Add the cream and then start folding the protruding edges, one layer at a time, brushing them with butter. Brush the remaining two phyllos with butter and fold them in the middle. Add them on top and cut the protruding phyllos around the edge of the baking tin. Using the brush tuck the sides to go inside. Brush the last one with butter and score lightly until the knife reaches the level of the cream. Wet your hands with water and sprinkle a few drops on top. Repeat once more.
- To make the galaktoboureko into a roll, cut the phyllo sheets in the middle. Add the cream 4 – 6 cm below the edge and brush the phyllo with some butter. Fold one of the sides on top of the cream, then fold the other side and then fold the remaining to form a roll.
- Bake in a preheated oven to 170οC / 338oF for about 35 minutes for about 45 minutes (If baked in a fan-forced oven bake to 160oC/320oF) or until golden on top.
- Remove galaktoboureko from the oven and add the syrup gradually with a spoon to wet it. It may seem that the syrup is too much but it will soon be absorbed.
- Set aside to cool completely before serving.
Leftover, must be refrigerated
A similar recipe as well as many more Greek recipes are included in my cookbook Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste as well as in my e-cookbook Volume 2.
Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,