Galaktoboureko

Greek food is always a treat.  I made Baklava a few months back, and that got me craving one of my all-time favorite Greek pastries, Galaktoboureko.  It's another dish involving layered phyllo and syrup, and has a custard filling that is just heavenly.  I hadn't made this in several years, but this dish is one I made a few times way before I got seriously into cooking.


I remembered some tidbits from the recipe I followed years ago from a Greek cookbook, including adding some fresh squeezed orange or lemon juice and cooking the syrup with a cinnamon stick to infuse extra flavor. For the basics I followed this recipe since I didn't have the cookbook on hand.

Step one was making the custard filling.  I made the cream of wheat on the stove by heating the whole milk over medium heat until it began to boil, then slowly added cream of wheat and sugar, stirring frequently.  Once the mixture thickened, I beat the eggs together in a small bowl, then slowly mixed them into the cream of wheat.  One recipe called for egg yolks while another suggested using all the egg--I went with the whole egg variety so as to use less eggs and utilize more of the whites.  Though I just slowly added the eggs into the mixture and stirred, the original recipe suggests adding some of the cream of wheat mixture into the eggs first, mixing, then adding the entire mixture into the saucepan to temper the eggs.  I chose to skip this step this time around because I had used a very small bowl for the eggs.


To make the Galaktoboureko, I followed a method similar to Baklava and set up a 9" x 12" baking pan brushed with butter.  I laid a sheet of phyllo dough in the bottom, then brushed it with butter.  I repeated this with 9 more sheets of phyllo to make the bottom section 10 layers thick.  I poured the cream of wheat filling on next, then repeated the phyllo layers with butter until it was 8 sheets thick.  I had to be careful with this part and brush the butter on very gently so as not to push the phyllo into the liquidy filling.  After buttering the top layer, I placed the Galaktoboureko in the preheated oven.


When the Galaktoboureko was finished, I started making the syrup by combining water and sugar in a saucepan.  I added in some fresh squeezed tangerine juice and a cinnamon stick and heated it to a boil, letting it cook until the sugar dissolved.  I stirred the syrup often to keep it from burning to the bottom of the pan.


I cut strips in the Galaktoboureko to llet the sauce soak through, then poured the hot syrup over it.


After letting it cool, I sliced it into small squares.


So sweet and delicious!  This is often served warm, but I personally prefer it cold.  The cream of wheat becomes a custard-like consistency when baked, and the sweet syrup just makes it amazing.  I had a small piece warm, and to me you could pick up on the egg more.  Everyone that tried this loved it, and I had plenty to share!  This is definitely one for the recipe books!

Galaktoboureko Recipe

Ingredients:

1 quart whole milk
3/4 cup cream of wheat
1 cup brown sugar
6 whole eggs, well beaten
1/2 pound phyllo
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup water
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange or tangerine juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cinnamon stick

Instructions:

In a saucepan over medium heat, cook the whole milk until boiling, then slowly add the cream of wheat and sugar, stirring frequently, until the mixture starts to thicken.  Beat the eggs together in a small bowl, then slowly mix into the cream of wheat.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Brush a 9" x 12" baking pan with butter, then lay a sheet of phyllo dough in the bottom.  Brush phyllo with butter, then repeat with 9 more sheets to make the bottom section 10 layers thick.  Pour the cream of wheat filling on next, then repeat the phyllo layers with butter 8 more times or until the 1/2 pound of phyllo is used up.  After buttering the top layer, place the Galaktoboureko in the preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes.  After baking, make the syrup by combining water, sugar, cinnamon, and fresh squeezed juice in a saucepan.  Heat to a boil, then stir frequently for 7-10 minutes until the sugar is dissolved.  Cut strips in the Galaktoboureko to let the sauce soak through, then pour the hot syrup over it.

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