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A Greek Dessert Custard Baked in Filo




2009 Galaktoboureko Photo by Carroll Pellegrinelli, licensed to About.com
A few years ago, we went to visit Louie (one of my husband's Greek cousins) and his family. Each time they have company, he makes Galaktoboureko (an egg custard baked in filo) for their guests. What a treat to not only get to watch this wonderful delicacy being made, but getting to eat it still warm from the oven. The below recipe is in Louie's own charming words.

6 egg yolks
6 cups milk
1 cup semolina
1 cup sugar
1-1/4 stick Butter, unsalted preferred, but...
zest of 1 lemon
1-2 teaspoons orange blossom water (optional)
filo pastry

Whisk the egg yolks and milk together, add the sugar while stirring (whisking) and then the semolina when well mixed and smooth turn on the heat about medium low or high low. heh heh Stir constantly least you get lumpy, a no no in Galaktoboureko. Add the lemon zest.

Cook for about 15-20 minutes until the custard thickens to about pudding consistency. (Good time now to melt the remaining stick of butter. If you're the sort that makes up ghee, or clarified butter, this would even be better.) At this point add 1/4 stick of butter, Vanilla, and, if you wish, orange blossom water. Stir in (whisk) well and remove from heat.

Now the fun begins.

For those not really use to Filo take a clean cloth and lightly dampen it, cut a sheet of wax paper larger than the filo once unfolded from it's box (did you unthaw the filo from the night before and give it a few hours at room temperature??) Use the wax paper to cover the filo and the damp cloth to completely cover the wax paper. This gives those that aren't use to filo some saving grace and aleve frustration of working with quickly drying filo dough!

Anyway, alternate with one sheet, butter, one sheet, butter until you use 1/2 of the filo (about 10 sheets). You'll need to run the butter back to the burner every couple of sheets as the hotter the better (almost said butter) Pour in the custard, fold the filo edges onto the custard and continue with covering the custard with the filo. Heat remaining butter till bubbling and pour over the top of the finished (you did tuck in the edges of the top filo...) The butter should have been hot enough to hear the filo sizzle, this adds some flavor!

Bake at 350 degrees F oven about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, as the last 10-15 minutes remain to baking. Take 1 cup water, 2 cups sugar, juice of that poor zestless lemon and peel of a half lemon, and bring to a boil stirring well as it goes. I prefer to stir the sugar water mix together before introducing the heat just to be sure I don't get a crystallized mess. Boil for 5-8 minutes and pour this simple syrup over the Galaktoboureko right away. Sorry but you gotta let it set until it's absorbed so about 1 hour, don't worry it'll still be warm. Do not refrigerate for at least 1 day, you'll loose the delicate texture, and flavor!!

Ideally, it should be consumed the same day or the next at the most. It will last for longer though flavor and, especially, texture have undergone change. Not all change is good. Heh, ha.

More Great Greek Pastries Like This Recipe for Galaktoboureko

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