This is my mother-in-law Elaine's recipe. Her notes:
The first one is a very rich recipe for the Galactoboureko which is the
sweet custard desert. Low calorie it is not! Best to make same day you
will use it as filo gets soggy after refrigeration. Make syrup first and
let it cool. As soon as custard is out of the oven, pour the cooled
syrup over the hot pastry. Let it cool in the pan so syrup is absorbed
by the pastry prior to cutting and serving. If you can find it
(possibley in a Greek market or in a Greek restaurant that may sell it),
drizzle some Sour Cherry Glyko around the pastry and put a few of the
sweetened cherries around and on top of the pastry when serving it. The
Sour Cherry Glyko comes in a jar with the cherries in a sweet rather
heavy syrup. It is a spoon sweet imported from Greece and is divine with
the custard pastry and looks very elegant as well. They serve it like
that at the Itaki Restaurant.
When you unpackage filo dough, put on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper
or parchment paper and place a dampened cotton towel over it. Otherwise
filo will dry up and crumble quickly when the air hits it. Take out one
sheet at a time for layering and buttering. If you can't find fresh filo
in a Greek market, buy frozen at Whole Foods Market. Thaw overnight in
the refrigerator prior to use. Do not buy the Country Style Frozen Filo.
It is too thick for this pastry. The regular filo is fine.
Recipe may sound a little complex at first, but really it goes quickly
when you are preparing it.
4 cups milk
2 cups heavy or all purpose cream
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp. farina
1/2 cup sugar
6 egg yolks
1 tbsp. vanilla
1/2 to 3/4 lb. filo leaves
2 sticks unsweetened butter (melted and clarified)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Prepare Syrup: In 1 quart saucepan over medium heat, bring 3/4 cup sugar and 3/4 cup water to boiling. stirring. Reduce heat to low, simmer 8 - 10 minutes or until thickened. Stir in 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Take off heat and let cool prior to use. This is a simple syrup. You can add cinnamon stick and whole cloves if you want to make it a little spicy or some lemon rind along with the lemon juice. If you want some extra syrup to heat and pour over each piece of pastry as it is served increase amount of sugar and water to 1 cup each and don't use it all when first poured over the hot pastry out of the oven.
1. Grease with softened butter. a 13 x 9 inch pan. In a 3 quart saucepan
over medium heat, heat milk and heavy cream just until boiling being
careful to watch it so it won't boil over.
2. In small bowl, mix farina and sugar; very gradually sprinkle into
milk mixture, stirring with a wire whisk -- heat to boiling. Reduce heat
to medium-low and cook stirring constantly until slightly thickened (5 -
10 minutes). Remove from heat and cool slightly.
3. In large bowl with mixer at high speed, beat egg yolks and vanilla
until mixed well. Reduce speed to medium -- gradually beat in hot milk
and farina mixture. Temper egg mixture first with some of the hot milk
and farina mixture if you do not want eggs to curdle. Cool slightly
while preparing filo in baking pan.
4. In baking pan, place one sheet of filo, allowing it to extend up
sides of pan -- brush with butter using a pastry brush and cover filo
with the butter all over or it will dry out. Repeat layers to build up
base of the pastry; 5 to 8 sheets of filo buttering each one. Pour
farina mixture into pan.
5. Cut remaining filo to size of pan. Place remaining sheets in pan
buttering each. Fold over any edges overhanging from bottom layers of
filo and push together with top layers to make an edge all around the
pan. Brush with more butter as needed so that top layer and edging is
completely covered with butter. This will make it nice and crispy when
6. With a very sharp knife, carefully cut top layers only of the filo
into serving size squares. Some of the custard may leak through a bit as
you cut because the custard mixture is very soft or soupy at this point
but that is ok. Do not cut through to the bottom layer of filo.
7. Bake in 375 degree oven 40 - 45 minutes. Top should be golden brown
and crisp. Filling can be tested with a knife to make sure it is cooked
through. If no filling comes off on the knife, it is done. If you have
a hot oven, bake at 350 degrees. Watch carefully and cover filo with
sheet of aluminum foil if getting to dark and custard is not cooked
8. Pour cooled syrup over hot custard pastry as soon as removed from
oven. It may look like of syrup but it will be all absorbed by the
custard as it cools.
9. Cool at least one hour before serving.
10. To serve: Finish cutting through layers the squares of pastry where
you have scored them prior to baking and through custard and bottom
layers of filo. Remove pieces with a spatula and serve as indicated
above. Serve at room temperature or just slightly warmed. Bake same day
or 1 day before -- try NOT to refrigerate for best results during initial
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