Galaktoboureko, 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, on made into rolls 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: 45 minutes
- 125 grams (4.40 oz – about ½ cup) ewe’s and goat butter (or clarified butter)
- 12 sheets phyllo
- 2- 3 tbsp milk, for brushing top phyllo
- 7 cups milk
1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream
- 6 eggs
1 ½ cups sugar
- 2 cups fine semolina
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tbsp of lemon zest
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 tbsp Greek thyme honey
1½ cups water
1 stick cinnamon
- 3- 4 cloves
1 lemon peel
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- Begin by preparing the syrup first so that it is not too hot when galaktoboureko is baked.
- Put the sugar, honey, 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.
- In a bowl whisk half amount of sugar with eggs until creamy.
- Heat the milk and heavy cream with the remaining sugar, lemon zest and vanilla. Add semolina, stirring for a few minutes, add the beaten eggs and mix continuously until the cream sets.
- Remove from the heat and cover with cling film and set aside to cool.
- Prepare the clarified butter.
- Grease a baking pan (30 x 35 cm – 14 x 12 inches) with butter.
- Place half amount of phyllos on the bottom of the pan, brushing each one separately, with the clarified butter. Make sure that the phyllos cover the sides of your baking tin. If the phyllos are smaller than your baking tin, put each one on the side which is not covered.
- Add the semolina cream.
- Fold phyllos overhanging, a piece at a time, on top of the cream, brushing them with butter. Add the remaining phyllos on top of the cream, again brushing each one with butter, tacking them in or cutting the phyllos to fit the size of the pan. The last phyllo should be cut exactly the size of the pan.
- et your hands with water and sprinkle some on top (this will prevent the phyllos from getting air inside and rising).
- Score with a sharp knife but stop before reaching the cream, into squares or diamond shaped pieces.
To make them into rolls: Cut each phyllo in the middle and brush it with butter. Put the cream on the top, leaving about 3 cm (one inch) empty on the top and both sides. Fold the left side towards the cream, then the other side and roll. Place this roll on the other buttered half and roll again the same way. Place them in a baking tin and brush them again with butter on top.
Bake in a preheated oven to 180ο C / 350o F for about 45 minutes or until golden brown on top.
- When the galaktomboureko is ready pour over the cold syrup gradually, so that it is slowly absorbed and let it cool before serving.
- Leftover, must be refrigerated.
This and 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,