Slices of Galaktoboureko on dishes.

Hi Bold Bakers!

Galaktoboureko — hard to pronounce, easy to make (and even easier to eat!) Galaktoboureko is one of the most beloved Greek desserts, and its variants are popular in Turkish and Syrian cuisines as well. And while Google can help you learn how to correctly pronounce galaktoboureko, I’m more than happy to help you learn how to make this delicious, crispy, creamy dessert! 

Galaktoboureko is a delicious dessert made with phyllo dough, a creamy custard filling, and an unbelievable syrup, made with sugar, water, honey, cinnamon, and lemon zest, that soaks into the pastry that, to me, is the real tour de force of this recipe! 

If you’re a fan of baklava, then you have to try this recipe! Galaktoboureko is everything you love about baklava, just not as heavy and less sweet! Which means you can have two or three pieces, right?

This is one of my Bold Baking Worldwide recipes! Also try a few of my other recent dishes too: Blancmange, Baklava, and a Portuguese Custard Tart.

Galaktoboureko in a pan with a few slices missing.

What Is Galaktoboureko? 

While not as well known as baklava, galaktoboureko is a popular Greek dessert, and every bit as delicious! 

Galaktoboureko, also known as “Greek Custard Pie,” is also known as “Milk Pie,” which makes sense when you break down the translation. “Galakto” is the Greek word for “milk,” while “boureko” is Turkish for something stuffed in phyllo. Galaktoboureko origins go all the way back to ancient Greece, where a barley pudding, not unlike the custard in this dessert, was often served. 

Beyond phyllo dough and the delicious syrup galaktoboureko soaks in, the key ingredient is semolina. Instead of a smooth custard that you are familiar with, semolina gives this custard a little grit. Without that texture, you can’t call it a proper galaktoboureko! 

What You Need To Make Galaktoboureko

Two dishes of Galaktoboureko next to a pan full of Galaktoboureko.

How To Make Galaktoboureko

Making galaktoboureko is very easy! Here’s my step-by-step guide for perfect galaktoboureko (and don’t forget to get the full recipe with measurements, on the page down below.):

  1. First, you want to make the syrup, so it has time to cool before you pour it on your finished product. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, water, honey, cinnamon, and lemon zest. Heat and stir the mixture until the sugar dissolves and then transfer it to a measuring cup with a pour spout to cool.
  2. To make the custard, bring the milk, cream, and ½ cup (4oz/115g) of sugar to a boil in a saucepan.
  3. Once boiling, immediately add the semolina and whisk until the mixture has thickened. This will take about 5 minutes. Make sure you are using a whisk to avoid any lumps!
  4. Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the butter, vanilla, and lemon zest. Let it cool until it is warm and not too hot to touch, about 10 minutes.
  5. Use an electric mixer to beat the eggs and remaining ¼ cup (2oz/57g) sugar until fluffy in a large bowl. Then, add the cooled semolina mixture and mix until it is well combined. Set aside while you assemble the pastry.
  6. Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C).
  7. Unroll the phyllo dough and cover it with a damp towel to prevent it from drying out while you assemble the layers.
  8. Lightly brush a 9×13-inch (23x33cm) pan with butter and lay a sheet of phyllo dough in it, allow the excess of the dough to hang over the sides. Brush it lightly all over with butter and repeat until you have 10 sheets of phyllo dough, each brushed lightly with butter.
  9. Spread the custard evenly over the dough. Then, fold the excess dough over the custard.
  10. Top the custard with the remaining phyllo sheets, brushing each layer all over with butter and allowing the excess to hang over the edges.
  11. Once done, tuck the excess dough into the edges of the pan to seal in the custard. Brush the top of the pastry generously with butter.
  12. Using a sharp knife, cut the pastry into 12 equal portions and bake for about 1 ½ hours until the pastry is a deep golden brown.
  13. Remove from the oven and immediately pour the cold syrup evenly over the hot pastry. Let the syrup soak into the pastry for at least 4 hours before serving. 

Gemma’s Pro Chef Tips For Making Galaktoboureko

  • When working with phyllo dough, make sure to keep the layers you aren’t working with under a damp towel to keep them from drying out and becoming brittle.
  • Only use a light (but thorough) brushing of butter between the layers to keep the pastry from being too heavy.
  • Make the syrup first, so it has a chance to cool completely before you pour it on the hot pastry. It is the difference in temperature that keeps the layers crispy.
  • Orange works lovely with this pastry. You can add a teaspoon of orange zest to the semolina custard. In the syrup, replace a ½ cup (4floz/115ml) of the water with orange juice.
  • Galaktoboureko is best the first 2 days after it is made. If this recipe is too large to be consumed in that time, you can easily halve the recipe! 

A close up of the phyllo and custard interior of Galaktoboureko.

How Do I Store Galaktoboureko? 

You can store leftover galaktoboureko in the refrigerator for up to 3 days! 

Make More International Recipes!

And don’t forget to buy my Bigger Bolder Baking Cookbook!

Full (and printable) recipe below!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *