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Saturday, August 20, 2011


In March of 2005 I took a trip to Greece with my mom to visit family and her birthplace. It was such a beautiful time, meeting loved ones, seeing historical sites and eating delicious food. My aunts all took good care of me. I will never forget my time there and hope one day to return with my own children.

There were days I would go out on my own for sightseeing and walking all around Athens. The day I went to the Acropolis was particularly wonderful. The weather was beautiful and while I was walking around the lower part I stopped into a little cafe which had baked goods. After perusing the menu I decided to order a small demitase of sweet greek coffee and a pastry called Galaktoboureko. A rough translation of Galaktoboureko is milk pie. A silky egg and semolina custard wrapped in fillo and drizzled with honey syrup and best when served warm. It was the most perfect beginning to my day and I will never forget that warm pastry passing over my lips. It's taken me a while to discover a good recipe for this delight and I think I am pretty close.

3 cups whole milk
1/2 cup semolina flour
2 tbsp cornstarch
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 to 2 tsp orange zest
a pinch of salt

8 oz fillo ( 1/2 package should be more than enough)
1/2 cup butter - 1 stick

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup honey
1 stick cinnamon
1 slice orange and a little juice if you like


First prepare your dry ingredients in a bowl - semolina, 1/2 cup sugar, constarch, and pinch salt. Whisk together so there are no clumps and set aside.

Pour milk into a medium-large pot and bring to a boil over medium high heat. When milk begins to boil, gradually add the semolina mixture. Use a wooden spoon to stir this until it thickens. Keeping stirring until it comes to a full boil and then remove from heat and set aside.

For the second part you need an electric mixer. In a bowl, beat eggs with mixer on high and add 1/4 cup sugar. You want to whip these eggs until they are thick and pale. Stir in the vanilla.

Fold the whipped egg mixture and orange zest into the semolina mixture. Set aside to cool.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

For this recipe I used a muffin tin. Melt your butter and using a pastry brush, coat each cup with butter. Have a clean kitchen towel that is slightly damp ready to cover the fillo so it doesn't dry out while you are working. Lay your fillo dough flat on a cutting board and cut in half with a sharp knife. Take a sheet, fold in half then brush with butter. Lay it over a muffin cup and gently push down. Layer 3 folded sheets in one cup and then ladle some of the custard into the well. Like so.

Bring the edges up and twist around until it covers the custard. Brush with butter. You don't want the fillo to dry out in the oven.

It should look like this. Continue until you fill the rest of the cups.
Put into the oven and bake for 25 minutes. It should be lightly browned.
While this is baking prepare your honey syrup in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and turn down the heat to low. You want it to slightly thicken.

Put the individual pastries on a platter and drizzle them all with the warm syrup. You are ready to serve them anytime! I think this dessert is best when it's warm.
Addendum: You can double this recipe and bake in a 9 by 13 pan. Just layer about 10 sheets on the bottom brushing with butter and then, 10 to 12 sheets on top. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until slightly browned on top. Pour the honey syrup over the top and slice into diamonds or squares. This dessert I like to eat warm but it is still delicious cold.

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