Traditional Greek Galaktoboureko recipe (Greek Custard Pie with Syrup)

Golden crispy perfection.. Have a bite of this amazing Galaktoboureko and let its juices flow in your mouth! Galaktoboureko is a traditional Greek dessert made with layers of golden brown crispy phyllo, sprinkled with melted butter, filled with the most creamy custard and bathed in scented syrup.. Simply amazing!

After a lot of experimenting, we have distilled the essence of this delightful traditional Greek dish to a few easy to follow steps for you to make the very best Galaktoboureko on your first try!

So, this is a very easy to follow Galaktoboureko recipe for you to recreate this traditional sweet delight from scratch.

Galaktoboureko (Greek Custard Pie with Syrup)

All the secrets to make the perfect homemade Galaktoboureko the traditional Greek way

This easy to follow Galaktoboureko recipe can be summarised in three key stages: Layering the phyllo sheets, Preparing the creamy custard filling,  and Preparing the scented syrup.

The key for the most flavourful Galaktoboureko is to use a good quality fresh butter to butter the phyllo sheets. The authentic Greek Galaktoboureko recipe calls for ‘galaktos’ butter made from a mix of sheep’s and cow’s milk, but if you can’t handle it’s very strong flavour, then you can substitute with good quality fresh butter from cow’s milk.

When preparing phyllo based desserts, like this Galaktoboureko recipe and baklava, a little trick to make the phyllo crispier and flakier is to sprinkle the melted butter over the phyllo sheets, rather than brushing them.

Working with phyllo can be tricky as it’s brittle and can dry out very quickly, so check the handling tips before start preparing this Galaktoboureko recipe.

Tip: Sometimes when baking the galaktoboureko some black spots will appear on the top. If you want to avoid that then just use your butter clarified

Prepare the Galaktoboureko custard

For the custard, all traditional Greek Galaktoboureko recipes use thin semolina, to achieve the characteristic grainy texture of the cream, which in this case is not consider a flaw. On the contrary, what is considered a flaw for a traditional Greek Galaktoboureko recipe is a very smooth, starchy and tight custard.

In most recipes, the eggs are added whole towards the end, but with this Galaktoboureko recipe the eggs are beaten into meringues and combined in the semolina based cream. This is the secret to a more fluffy and creamy custard and to avoid the egg-y smell, which can ruin the flavour of your Galaktoboureko.

Tip: Just be careful to add the semolina slowly to the warm milk and whisk constantly to avoid forming lumps!

Prepare the syrup for the Galaktoboureko

To achieve the perfect texture for the syrup of the Galaktoboureko, you should never blend or stir the syrup, while it is boiling. Just let the sugar dissolve in the hot water, remove from the stove and add some honey.

Tip: Honey (or glucose syrup) helps the syrup not to crystallise, gives extra flavour and makes it nice and thick.

For the perfect Galaktoboureko: crispy phyllo and right syrup-ing go together! To accomplish this make sure that the syrup is cold and your Galaktoboureko is really hot

Always laddle slowly the cold syrup over the hot Galaktoboureko, enabling each ladle to be absorbed, so that the syrup is absorbed evenly. Even though it will be really hard.. you should wait for the Galaktoboureko to cool down for a while before cutting into pieces.

Tip: It’s best not to cover the galaktoboureko while it is still warm to prevent the steam from getting trapped. In that case the phyllo will become soggy. Just leave it uncovered on the counter.

So go ahead, give this traditional Galaktoboureko recipe a try and amaze your friends and family! 

More extra syrupy Greek desserts 

If you love syrupy Greek desserts here is a list of my favourite recipes to try:

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Traditional Greek Galaktoboureko recipe (Greek Custard Pie with Syrup)

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  • Author: Eli K. Giannopoulos
  • Prep Time: 60 minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: 10-12 pieces 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Greek

Description

Golden, crispy and extra syrupy. A no fuss, three step Galaktoboureko recipe to make the best traditional Greek custard pie on your first try!

 


Ingredients

Scale

Base Ingredients

  • 450g phyllo pastry (14 oz./ 12 sheets)
  • 230g butter (8 oz.)

For the Custard

  • 160g thin semolina (6 oz.)
  • 220g sugar (7.5 oz.)
  • 500g milk (17.6 oz.)
  • 4 eggs (separated into whites and yolks)
  • 30g butter (1 oz.)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 500g single cream (17.6 oz)

For the Syrup

  • 325g water (11.4 ounces)
  • 575g sugar (20.2 ounces)
  • 1 large tbsp honey
  • peel of 1 lemon
  • a cinnamon stick
  • 10 drops of the lemon juice


Instructions

  1. To make this Galaktoboureko recipe, start by preparing the syrup. Into a small pan add the sugar, the water and lemon peelcinammon stick and lemon and bring to the boil. Let it boil just until the sugar has dissolved. Remove the pan from the stove, add the honey and stir. Leave the syrup aside to cool completely.
  2. Prepare the custard for the Galaktoboureko (steps 3-8).
  3. Pour into a saucepan the milk, the cream and the rest of the sugar, and bring to the boil. (Don’t whisk the mixture. The sugar at the bottom of the pan protects the milk from burning.) As soon as it comes to the boil and heats up slowly add the semolina and the vanilla extract, whilst whisking. Turn the heat down to medium heat and whisk constantly until the mixture becomes creamy. Remove the pan from the stove, add a knob of butter and fold. Let it cool down while you are preparing the remaining steps, until warm (50c / 120F), else your mix will curdle when you fold in the eggs. Just remember to whisk it once in a while.
  4. Divide the eggs into yolks and whites. In most traditional Greek recipes, the eggs are added whole towards the end, but with this Galaktoboureko recipe the eggs are beaten into meringues and combined in the semolina based cream. This is the secret to a more fluffy and creamy custard and to avoid the egg-y smell, which can ruin the flavour of your Galaktoboureko.
  5. Place the egg whites and 50g sugar in a mixing bowl. Make sure your egg whites, bowl and whisk attachment/s are free of any water. Use an electric mixer or electric hand beaters to whisk the egg whites and sugar until the mixture is very thick and glossy, all the sugar has dissolved and a long trailing peak forms when the whisk is lifted (meringues). Set aside.
  6. In another bowl, whisk the yolks and 50g of sugar, until the mixture is thick and foamy. This should take about 5 minutes.
  7. With a spatula add 1/4 of the meringues into the egg yolks-sugar mixture and blend with light circular movement from the bottom up. Gradually add all the meringues into the mixture and fold.
  8. Fold together the two mixtures, from step 3 and step 7 and set aside.
  9. For this Galaktoboureko recipe, you need a large baking tray, approx. 25x32cm. Melt 230g of butter (low heat) and butter the bottom and sides of the tray. Remove the phyllo roll from the plastic sleeve. You will use 6 sheets of phyllo for the bottom of the Galaktoboureko.
  10. Begin by layering the sheets one by one on the bottom of the tray, making sure to sprinkle each one thoroughly with melted butter. Layer four sheets of phyllo so that they extend half in the pan and half out of the pan horizontally and vertically and two more in the middle.
  11. Tip in the custard, smoothing the surface with a spatula and fold the phyllo sheet flaps over the custard. Sprinkle with melted butter.
  12. Add 6 sheets on top, sprinkling each sheet with melted butter. With a knife trim some of the excessive phyllo and use your pastry brush to help you turn the phyllo inwards, towards the bottom of the pan to seal the galaktoboureko.
  13. Scar the top of the Galaktoboureko in pieces with a sharp knife. Cut down until the knife reaches the cream.
  14. Pour over the remaining butter. Sprinkle with a little bit of water.
  15. Bake in a preheated oven at 160C for 60 to 75 minutes until the phyllo is crisp and golden.
  16. As soon as the Galaktoboureko is ready, ladle slowly the cold syrup over the pastry. (Hot galaktoboureko, cold syrup)
  17. Serve after the syrup is absorbed. Enjoy!


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 piece
  • Calories: 709 kcal
  • Sugar: 65.7g
  • Sodium: 193.7mg
  • Fat: 35.9g
  • Saturated Fat: 21.5g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 12.2g
  • Trans Fat: 0.5g
  • Carbohydrates: 90.7g
  • Fiber: 1.1g
  • Protein: 8.4g
  • Cholesterol: 149.1mg

Keywords: Galaktoboureko, How to make galaktoboureko, Greek custard pie

Recipe image gallery:


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60 Comments

  1. Orestes

    Eli,
    Wow! Spectacular. For a minute there I thought I was back on Hydra! Outstanding recipe. Thank you for your great attention to detail.

  2. I’m an Australian chick, with cooking skilled pretty limited to toast, BBQ’s and 2 min noodles.
    I made this for my Greek friend… and she said it was the best she’s ever had!!! Your steps were easy… and your pre notes with tips were awesome. Now I can’t stop making it…and I’m turning a little chubby.

  3. What type of milk do you use? Full fat, semi smkimmed or skimmed? Im guessing full fat to go with the large amount of sugar used 🙂

  4. I made this and pastry and syrup cane out lovely but the custard was grainy like lumpy ?? Can you advise where I went wrong . I have made this dessert twice different recipes and both cane out ok and that was with coarse semolina . I tried fine but something didn’t go well ??

  5. It was good but it just had way too much sugar!! There are more than 4 cups of sugar in this tiny galaktoboureko and I didn’t even use the full amount of sugar, but it was just way too much for me. The galaktoboureko at my local Greek festival was much more subtly sweet. But it is a good recipe. Just not for me!

  6. İnteresting to see, you add cold syrup on hot boureko.

    We pour hot syrup (not boiling) on still warm boureko, as it is best served when the galakto boureko is still warm and crispy(this is when syrup is poured hot).

    This is how we do it in eastern black sea today 😌

  7. what size pan in inches would this be?? your picture does NOT look like a large “tray”….
    I’m debating using a 7″ x 11″ baking dish or would it be more like a 9″ x 13” baking dish???

    • Hi Jeanne! I’m so sorry that I missed your message. I would go with 9″ x 13″ baking pan or baking dish. I used an oval shaped baking dish so it’s difficult do be exact. But a 9″x 13″ baking will work great!

  8. This recipe is better than my moms!
    Way creamier and not as dense. Knowing Greek desserts, I cut down on the sugar and it was perfect!

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