What Is Galaktoboureko?

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  • Written By: C.B. Fox
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 07 October 2019
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Galaktoboureko is a type of dessert that comes from Greece. It is made from custard that is layered between sheets of phyllo pastry. This dish differs from similar desserts in that it is assembled before the ingredients are fully cooked and baked so that the custard and the pastry finish cooking at the same time. The name for this dessert comes from the Greek word gala, which means milk, and the Turkish word bourek, which means pastry. A simple dish to assemble, galaktoboureko is popular in Greece and in other parts of the world, especially in regions where Greek immigrants have settled.

The basis for galaktoboureko is a custard made from milk, sugar, eggs, semolina, butter, and vanilla. In order to make the custard, the milk is heated until it boils. The semolina, which is a course wheat flour, is then stirred in. Once the milk and flour have cooled slightly, the eggs and sugar are added, and the custard is cooked over low heat until it thickens slightly. Butter and vanilla are then stirred in to add richness and flavor to the custard.


In order to assemble galaktoboureko, the thickened custard is layered between sheets of phyllo. This pastry is made from multiple layers of dough that have been rolled out until they are extremely thin. When it's baking, the phyllo is able to puff up and become crispy because of all the air pockets between the sheets of dough. Galaktoboureko can also be made by placing a layer of custard between two layers of phyllo or by placing the custard on top of the phyllo and then rolling it, wrapping the filling within the pastry.

Once assembled, galaktoboureko is baked in order to cook the phyllo and finish cooking the custard. The dish is allowed to bake at a medium heat for about 45 minutes, after which the phyllo will be golden and crispy. After the dish is baked, it can be topped with a simple syrup made from sugar and water. Typically, the syrup is flavored with orange or lemon juice and peels, adding tartness to this sweet dessert.

Once made, galaktoboureko is best eaten on the same day. The custard will, after a couple of hours, make the phyllo dough soggy. Though there is nothing wrong with the dish at this point, it is better when the pastry is crispy and the dish still warm.


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