Greek Custard Pie
If you want this delicate custard wrapped up by layers of thin, crunchy phyllo bathed in delicious, succulent syrup, you should make galaktoboureko, the famous Greek custard pie.
For the syrup
- 3½ cups (700g) granulated sugar
- 2 cups (500ml) water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 lemon cups, squeezed (not the juice)
For the phyllo pastry
- 1 package phyllo pastry, 12 sheets
- 1 cup (240g) butter, melted, at room temperature
For the custurd cream
- 8 cups (2 liters) whole milk, fresh
- 1 cup (200g) fine semolina
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
- 4 eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 lemon zest
- 1 cinnamon stick
- ¼ cup (60g) butter, cold
Prepare the syrup
Bring the sugar, water, cinnamon stick and lemon cups to a boil in a small saucepan. Don’t stir it. Simmer over low heat for 6-8 minutes.Remove from the heat and disregard the lemon cups. Cover the pot and set aside.Don’t stir or shake the pot.
Prepare the custard
Keep one cup (250ml) of milk and ½ cup (100g) sugar aside. In a large heavy-bottomed pot heat the remaining milk and sugar along with thezest, the vanilla extract and the cinnamon stick over medium heat.
In a small bowl using a hand mixer (or in a stand mixer) beat the eggs and the egg yolks for about 5 minutes. Add the remaining ½ cup(100g) sugar and beat until it dissolves. Make sure the sugar is dissolved byrubbing a small amount of mixture in between your fingers. Add the semolinagradually and beat until combined. Finally add the remaining 1 cup (250ml) milkand beat for 2-3 minutes.
Using a small ladle take some of the warm milk and add it to the egg-sugar-semolina mixture while stirring gently. Repeat until the mixture’s temperature slightly rises. Pour the egg-sugar-semolina mixture into the warm milk and stir gently but constantly until small bubbles form around the edges. This may take up to 15 minutes or so. Remove from the heat.
Disregard the cinnamon stick. Using a fork or knife melt the cold butter over the surface of the custard. Don’t emerge the butter into the custard. Just brush gently and evenly all over the top with the butter and let the heat melt it. Your purpose is to create a buttered layer and keep the custard’s surface from crusting. Let it aside to cool. When you will be ready to pour thescustard in the baking pan, you will stir well to incorporate the butter intosthe mixture.
Follow the instructions in the post above and find out how to handle frozen and fresh phyllo pastry.
Grease a 13 to 15-inch (35cm to 38cm) round baking dish/pan or a 15x11-inch (38×28 cm) rectangular. Layer the bottom of the pan with thefirst phyllo sheet and lightly press the sheet into the sides and corner andlet the edges hang over the top. Brush it with the melted butter. Place thesecond sheet crossways and brush it with butter as well. Repeat for another 5sheets. We need totally 7 sheets for the bottom, placed crossways and brushedwith melted butter. Don’t worry about the overhanging phyllo because you willfold it over to cover the pie.
Pour the cool custard over the bottom sheets and spread to the sides. Fold the pastry inwards over the custard. Layer 5 more phyllo sheets on top of the custard as you did the bottom, continuing to brush melted butter between layers. Don’t forget to brush the sides and the overhanging parts too. Using a knife cut the excessive overhanging phyllo. Roll the edges down using your pastry brush to push them underneath the pan. Liberally brush the top and the edge with the rest of the butter.
Score the top of the pie into pieces. Cut only the top sheets and don’t touch the bottom at all.
Sprinkle with water and bake at 356°F (180°C) on the bottom rack for about 1 hour, until golden. Remove the pie from the oven and using a big spoon or a small ladle pour the cool syrup evenly and really slowly overthe entire pie*.
Allow the pie to sit for at least 1 hour before serving so that the syrup is absorbed. Serve warm and store leftover pie in the refrigeratorfor up to 5 days.
1. Attention: you have to pour cool syrup over a hot custard pie or hot syrup over a cool custard pie. Hot-cold is the right combination.
2. If you want to prep a little, read the post above.