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Greek Milk Tart (Galaktaboureko)

One of the most popular Greek confections which may be made as a large tart to cut into slices or as individual rolls filled with the thick semolina custard.

Custard filling
1,25 litres milk (5 x 250 ml)
175 g / 250 ml semolina or quick cooking wheat porridge (Tasty wheat)
6 large eggs, well beaten
pinch salt
5 ml finely grated lemon rind (optional)
50 gbutter or margarine
200 ml sugar
7,5 ml vanilla essence

Phyllo pastry crust
12 sheets phyllo pastry for the large pie to make slices or
±16 sheets phyllo pastry for rolls
±125 ml melted butter or margarine

300 g / 375 ml sugar
375 ml water
30 ml lemon juice
1 cinnamon stick

  1. Place the milk into a large saucepan and bring to boil. Add the semolina or wheat porridge in a thin stream, beating with a wire whisk until a smooth, thick custard has formed. Reduce heat, cover and simmer very gently for 5 minutes or until thickened.
  2. Beat a little of the hot sauce into the eggs and return to the saucepan. Bring to boil while beating and cook gently for 2 minutes or until the eggs have thickened the custard.
  3. Beat in the salt, lemon rind, butter or margarine, sugar and vanilla essence.
  4. To make the large tart for slices, brush the sides and base of a rectangular dish (± 300 mm x 200 mm x 60 mm) with melted butter or margarine.
  5. Line the dish with 6 sheets of phyllo pastry, brushing in between with melted butter or margarine and folding it in to fit the dish without cutting away any of the phyllo pastry.
  6. Pour the custard into the dish and cover with the remaining 6 sheets in the same manner, brushing in between and ending with a neat top sheet. Brush the remaining butter or margarine over the top and bake at 180 ºC for about 40 minutes or until the crust is golden and crisp, the filling has set and the pie appears risen in the centre.
  7. Or to make rolls, refrigerate the custard filling for a while to make it firm and easier to handle. Lay out one sheet of pastry at a time, brush with melted butter or margarine and spoon about 75 ml of the filling 3 cm away from the edge and in the middle third portion of the pastry (see diagram). Fold over a third of the pastry from each side, brush again with melted butter or margarine and roll up carefully but loosely to allow for expansion during baking. Place the rolls 10 mm apart into greased ovenproof dishes and brush with the remaining melted butter or margarine. Bake at 170 ºC for about 30 minutes or until golden and puffy.
  8. In the meantime, boil the syrup. Place the ingredients for the syrup into a small saucepan and cook over moderate heat, stirring until the sugar has melted. Bring to boil, reduce heat and allow to simmer for 10 minutes.
  9. Allow the tart or rolls to cool for 5 minutes and pour the lukewarm syrup over all. Cool completely and preferably refrigerate the large tart for a while before cutting it into squares or slices for serving.

± 16 servings, depending on size.

Recipe by Carolié de Koster from the Art Of Cooking recipe book page 789.