Greek custard pie (galaktoboureko) is a classic dessert that is offered at our annual Greek festival. We usually buy baklava but also enjoy eating this too!
We look forward to our city’s annual Greek festival every year. Usually, we’ll stuff ourselves with spanakopita, dolmades, moussaka, pastitsio, yahni, rice, and baklava. Sometimes, we’ll venture outside of our typical food choices and try something new. One year, we tried loukomades (Greek donuts). Another year we had galaktoboureko (Greek custard pie). Something about the custard pie stuck with me because I wanted to recreate it at home.
The top and bottom layers of this Greek custard pie are made of layers of phyllo dough that have been doused in a generous smattering of melted butter. The middle is a smooth and fluffy egg-based custard. Then we soak the pie in a beautiful citrus syrup. While I list that this recipe serves 12, it could easily serve 24.
I was surprised that the custard was made with semolina flour rather than all-purpose flour. As a result, the custard was a bit grainier than the classic French custards that I’m used to. Regardless, the three of us all loved this Greek custard pie. While I still cannot pronounce galaktoboureko correctly, I am pleased that I can make it. Now I don’t need to wait until the Greek festival to enjoy this wonderful dessert.
Greek custard pie (Galaktoboureko)
- 6 cups whole milk
- 1 cup fine semolina
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar divided
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 eggs
- zest of 1 orange
- 1 package (about 16-20 sheets) phyllo dough thawed
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter melted
- 1 and 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Have a standard 9"x13" baking pan ready to go (no need to grease it yet - we will butter it later).
Make the custard
- In a large saucepan, mix together the milk, semolina flour, 1/2 cup of the sugar, and the vanilla over medium heat. The mixture will thicken up after about 15 minutes and look like pudding. Remove from the heat and set aside for about 5-10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, beat the eggs with the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar in a small bowl. Transfer some of the milk mixture into this bowl and mix well. Transfer everything into the large saucepan and stir well. Add in the orange zest until well incorporated.
Layer the pie
- Brush a generous layer of butter on the bottom of your baking pan. Add 1 layer of phyllo dough and brush with butter. Repeat until you've used about half of the phyllo dough and about half of the butter. Be generous on the butter - you want your layers to be flaky!
- Once you've used about half of the phyllo, add the custard on top. Smooth it out so there are no bumps.
- Add a layer of phyllo dough, brush with butter and repeat until you've used up all the phyllo dough and butter.
- Bake in your preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Continuously check on the pie so the phyllo does not burn.
- Allow the pie to cool while you make the syrup.
Make the citrus syrup
- Stir together all of the ingredients except the vanilla together in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat until it boils. Then take the pan off the stove and stir in the vanilla.
- Once the pie has cooled for about 15 minutes, pour the syrup evenly over the top. Allow the pie to sit and soak in the syrup for about an hour before serving.