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Galactoboureko is a luscious greek dessert. A rich custard made with wheatlets and almonds is surrounded by a flaky phyllo pastry, baked to perfection and doused in a sweet syrup.
This recipe is from the kitchen of my friend Susan. She has always had a love for Greek food and had learned how to make it during a Greek cooking class around 1979 from a little Greek lady.
Susan hosted a greek night where she taught us how to use phyllo pastry a few weeks ago. The food was absolutely scrumptious and we all had a blast. After tasting the Galactoboureko I thought I just had to post this recipe on the blog.
What is Phyllo Pastry ?
Phyllo is a special dough, rolled as thin as tissue paper, and used to make pastries, or coverings for various meat and cheese dishes.
Phyllo is packed and sold in one-pound packages, and the average package contains about 20-24, 12×18 inch sheets.
Phyllo may be frozen. When you want to use it, thaw it overnight in the fridge and then out of the fridge for about an hour and a half before using it. Or if your pressed for time you can let it thaw at room temperature for 3 hours. When thawed it is still good in the fridge for several weeks, but keep it well-wrapped to prevent it from drying out.
It is important to use just one sheet at a time, and keep the rest covered with a piece of paper and a damp tea towel. Phyllo can be cut as desired. However, if it tears, use the torn sheet between the whole sheets.
The secret to using phyllo is the butter. Butter may be clarified (heated and salt foam skimmed off the top) used with salt in, or melted margarine used. Flavour will vary with each. Brush butter on each sheet as you use it. Do not skimp on the amount you use or your pastry will be thick and heavy-instead of flaky and crisp.
If making a large dish using phyllo, score the top layers using a sharp knife or scissors just before baking. This will allow you to cut through the baked pastry cleanly when serving it. Scoring allows pastry to breathe and filling to expand. It also helps syrups soak in.
Place 4 cups of milk in a large saucepan in which you are going to make the custard. Scald the milk by bringing it to a boil over medium heat. Once boiling remove from heat and cool to warm.
While milk is cooling, place 6 eggs in large mixing bowl and beat well with electric mixer. Add 1 1/2 cups sugar and whip until creamy coloured.
Add the egg mixture to the warmed milk. Measure out 1/3 cup of wheatlets and gradually add half of it to your saucepan. Return this to the heat and add the remaining wheatlets, stirring continuously until mixture comes to a boil.
Remove custard from the heat, add the 1/2 cup butter, crushed almonds and vanilla extract. Allow to cool.
While custard cools, layer about 10-12 phyllo leaves on the bottom of a 9×13″ and an 8×8″ pan generously brushing with butter in between each layer. You will need to cut each phyllo sheet to fit the pans accordingly. A good pair of kitchen shears should do the trick.
Add the cooked filling and sprinkle a little butter on top so custard does not soak into the phyllo too quickly. Top with the remaining phyllo sheets, always brushing generously with butter between each layer.
Score top layer using a sharp knife or kitchen shears to your desired portions. To cut as shown just score two straight lines horizontally, then cut in a zigzag pattern vertically. When scoring be sure to not cut too deep as to cut into the custard, only the first few layers of phyllo is necessary.
Bake for 50 minutes at 350 F. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before spooning the sugar-syrup carefully over the Galactoboureko.
Combine 1 1/2 cups water and 3 cups sugar and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon lemon juice as this prevents syrup from becoming sugary. Boil for 10 minutes and allow to cool to room temperature.
This is a great recipe to make the day before as it’s best to wait at-least 5 hours before serving. However it will definitely be worth the wait. Have your own greek night and finish off your dinner with this luscious dessert.
Galactoboureko (Wheatlet cake with Phyllo)
A luscious greek pastry. Creamy custard with almonds and wheat lets, surrounded by flaky phyllo pastry, baked to perfection and doused in a sweet syrup.
- 6 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups sugar granulated
- 4 cups milk
- 1/3 cup wheatlets
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup almonds finely ground
- 3/4-1 lb phyllo
- 1 cup butter melted and clarified
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 3 cups sugar granulated
- 1 tsp lemon juice
Place milk in a large saucepan in which you are going to make the custard. Scald the milk by bringing it to a boil, removing from the heat and cool to warm.
Place eggs in large mixing bowl and beat well with electric mixer. Add the sugar and whip until creamy coloured.
Add the egg mixture to the warmed milk and gradually add 1/2 of the wheat lets. Return this to the heat and add the remaining wheatlets, stirring continuously until mixture comes to a boil.
Remove custard from the heat, add the 1/2 cup butter, crushed almonds, and vanilla extract. Allow to cool.
While custard cools, place about 10-12 phyllo leaves on the bottom of a 9x13" and an 8x8" pan. Add the cooked filling and sprinkle a little butter on top so custard does not soak into the phyllo too quickly. Top with remaining phyllo sheets, always brushing generously with melted butter between each layer. Score top layer.
Bake for 50 minutes at 350 F. Remove from oven and spoon sugar-syrup carefully over the Galactoboureko.
Combine water, and sugar and bring to a boil. Add lemon juice (this prevents syrup from becoming sugary). Boil for 10 minutes and allow to cool.