??????????????? (no, really…)

May 23rd, 2008 · 49 Comments

it’s called galaktoboureko, and the moment i laid my eyes on this post from peter at kalofagas, the recipe went directly onto the short list.  because this is what i dream of. not fame, nor fortune, but a big, thick wad of not overly rich, smooth and creamy custard.  and no one pulls this off like the greeks.  and from the sound of it, peter is about as greek as a man can get.

so i ventured off into the esoteric world of one worded six syllable desserts.  and it was all good, except for this one thing.  and let me sum it up for you in two words.

phuck phyllo.

because i gotta say, the whole phyllo aspect of this dish was not pretty.  we wrestled.  we wrangled.  and then i resorted to swearing at the pastry.  i mean, did you hear that?  i swore at store bought pastry.  repeatedly.  how phuking ridiculous is that?

now, i can totally understand hating ‘from scratch’ pastry – my #1 culinary nemesis.  because ‘from scratch’ pastry is beyond hateable.  even if you get it to look right, it’s NEVER flakey and delicious.  ever.  i see all you food bloggers at thanksgiving making pie after pie with your helpful hint after hint.  but i’m bold enough to say, i’m not buying it.  i happen to know that truly excellent pastry skills soley relies on the baker having a rare and defomed dna gene.  

so anyway,  this should have gone smoothly and did not, and is therefore the perfect example of why i should never touch pastry of any kind.  and yes, i bought the best i could find.  and yes i let it thaw properly.  but it stuck togther in spots and broke to pieces in others.  and i was not having any fun.  not even a little.  and just for yucks, you really should have seen my kitchen floor.  it looked like a ticker tape parade had just come through. 

but i will say two things about it all.  first and foremost – in the end, i was victorious.  and secondly – raw phyllo with butter shmeared all over it is strangely delicious…


it looked so promising… as though this would be a pastry walk in the park… but nooooo…


the custard – cooling off while hurting no one’s feelings, unlike the phyllo

Galaktoboureko (γαλακτομπο?ρεκο)
recipe from kalofagas

the only minor change i made was to add salt to the syrup and i also added some orange blossom water because it was right in front of me and in that moment i figured it would add that certain je ne sais quoi (which i wish i could say in greek but the only greek i speak is menu – and the word opa!).  if i were to make this again, which is tempting i would definitely add both those ingredients to the syrup.  that’s how good i am at this. but besides that, i changed nothing.  it’s a great recipe.  thanks peter.  oh, and phuck phyllo.  amen.

7 eggs, room temp.
10 cups of whole milk (room temp.)

2 cups of sugar
1 cup of fine semolina flour

1 heaping Tbsp. of butter

zest of 1 lemon
1 package of commercial phyllo

2 sticks of melted butter (for brushing)

14" X 11" Corningware baking dish

Syrup
2 cups of sugar
1 cup of water

juice & zest of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tspn of salt
2 Tbls of orange blossom water (optional)

Place a large pot over medium-high heat and add your eggs, sugar and semolina and mix constantly over medium heat until incorporated.

Add the milk, zest and butter and now continue to mix using a potato masher until your custard is slightly thick, yet not runny. Place a tea towel between the pot of custard and the pot’s lid, cover and reserve (off the heat).

Pre-heat your oven to 350F. Butter the baking dish. Count how many sheets you have in your package of phyllo and divide in half. One half will go on the bottom, the second half will go on top.

In the bottom of the pan, layer your one half of phyllo, leaving the edges hanging over the sides of the pan. Brush each sheet generously with the melted butter. Pour the custard mixture over the bottom phyllo layers.

Fold the excess phyllo over and into the pan and evenly distribute the remaining sheets of phyllo to entirely cover the custard. Again, ensure that each sheet is brished generously with butter.

With a very sharp knife, score the phyllo (just penetrating) to make your desired size and shapes of your Galaktoboureko pieces (this makes it easier to cut later and this will also allow the syrup to penetrate the pie better.

Bake in the middle rack for 35-40 minutes or until the top is nice and golden-brown. Allow the Galaktoboureko to cool to room temperature.

To make your syrup, add the sugar, water, juice, salt and zest and bring to a boil and count 10 minutes for your syrup to develop.  stir in orange blossom water.

Using a ladle, pour your syrup over the Galaktoboureko (1 ladle at a time) until your syrup has been absorbed.

Carefully complete the slicing of your pieces (tracing your initial cuts), allow to cool for approx. 1 hour and refrigerate uncovered over night to set. Serve cold or room temperature.


photogenic little number

the only catch was, i made the galaktabouriko that day – for that night.  i neglected to read the directions to the end, as in "refridgerate uncovered overnight".  oops.  it stayed pretty hot right out of the oven (this pan weighs a ton as it’s loaded with custard) but finally at 5:30 after cooling for about an hour or so, i threw it in the refrigerator, despite my fears of every meat and dairy product i owned spoiling, and by 9 pm when i cut into it, it was pretty firm and held together nicely,  but yes, it was better the next day.  and the next day.  and even the next.  it makes 16 large pieces.  and i never got tired of it. 

and suddenly while looking at this photo, i am desperately longing for more γαλακτομπο?ρεκο…

Tags: dessert

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