Galaktoboureko (Greek Custard Pie)

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A traditional Greek style custard pie, galaktoboureko consists of a vanilla custard made with semolina that’s baked in crispy, buttery layers of phyllo pastry. Everything is soaked in a citrus sweet syrup for a delicious dessert that will remind you of endless summer days.

Galaktoboureko (Greek Custard Pie)

If you have ever spent some time in Greece, you may have had a pleasantly sweet encounter with galaktoboureko, a traditional Greek custard pie with semolina that makes the perfect dessert on a scorchy summer day.

Greek people often eat it as a treat between meals with a glass of ice cold water, as the sweetness is just what you need to keep you going in the heat.

From the first time I tasted this Greek filo custard pie I knew I needed to replicate it at home, because there was just no way I would only have a slice on holidays.

The good news is that even though the instructions for the galaktoboureko recipe are lengthy, the pie is not difficult to make. The hardest part is waiting for an hour and a half for it to bake and then allowing it to cool down before serving. Other than that, it’s easy to make.

What do you need to make it?

To make this recipe for galaktoboureko, you need semolina, which is a type of flour made from durum wheat. It’s generally readily available in supermarkets, but if you can’t find it, you can easily order some online. Make sure you get the fine kind, as there are different levels of coarseness available.

Galaktoboureko (Greek Custard Pie)1

Other than semolina, you’ll need the following:

For the syrup

  • 500 g (2.5 cups) sugar
  • 350 ml (1.5 cups) water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • zest of 1 lemon, unwaxed
  • 2 tbsp honey

For the custard

  • 4 eggs, medium
  • 150 g (3/4 cup) sugar
  • 300 ml (1 1/4 cup) double cream
  • 500 ml (2 1/4 cups) milk, full-fat
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp lemon extract (optional)
  • 110 g (1 stick) butter, unsalted
  • 150 g ((1 1/2 sticks) butter, unsalted, melted (for brushing)
  • 270 g ( 1/2 lb) phyllo dough sheets (1 package)

How do you make galaktoboureko?

Making galaktoboureko is a two-step process. You start with making the syrup, which you then leave to cool while you make the pie. When the pie is baked, you need the syrup to be cold before pouring it on top of the hot pie.

Make the syrup

  1. Add the sugar, water, cinnamon stick and lemon zest to a small pan and bring to a boil. Allow it to simmer for a couple of minutes until the sugar is dissolved. Add the honey and mix until dissolved. Remove from the stove and leave aside.

Make the custard

  1. In a mixer, beat the eggs and half the sugar until you obtain a meringue-like texture. Leave aside.
  2. Add the remaining sugar, milk, double cream, vanilla extract, and lemon extract (if using) to a saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil.
  3. When it’s boiling, immediately add the semolina and whisk until the mixture thickens (about 4 to 5 minutes).
  4. Remove the mixture from the heat and add the butter. Whisk until it’s incorporated. Allow it to cool for 5 to 10 minutes until it’s lukewarm.
  5. Transfer the beaten eggs and sugar to the semolina mixture and fold gently.
  6. Preheat the oven to 160C (320F). Melt the butter in a saucepan or in the microwave.
  7. Brush as 25 x 35 cm (9 x 11 in) baking pan with melted butter.
  8. Take one sheet of phyllo and spread it in the pan. It’s OK if it hangs over the pan. Drizzle generously with melted butter. Add another three sheets repeating the drizzling process.
  9. Spread the custard as evenly as possible. Use a spatula or a wooden spoon and make sure the mixture gets into the corners as well.
  10. Turn in the phyllo that is hanging over and drizzle again with butter.
  11. Add the remaining sheets of phyllo dough on top of the custard, making sure you drizzle them with butter.
  12. When you get to the last sheet, turn it inwards to seal the custard. Drizzle butter over the top.
  13. Cut the pie into 12 pieces and pour all the remaining butter on it.
  14. Bake for 1 1/2 hours until golden and crunchy.
  15. Remove the galaktoboureko from the oven and immediately pour the sugar syrup on top. Wait to cool and serve.
Galaktoboureko (Greek Custard Pie)

Can you freeze galaktoboureko?

Galaktoboureko is not exactly the kind of dessert you want to freeze, because it would sadly transform into a mush. The good news is that it’s so tastyl, you can definitely handle a tray in a two-three days even if there’s just one or two of you.

Galaktoboureko keeps well int he fridge in a covered container for up to three days. It doesn’t go bad after that, and I once tasted week-old galaktoboureko that was still good, but it had lost its texture.

It only has the initial texture for one day in my experience, so it’s something that it’s best enjoyed as quickly as possible.

If you liked this galaktoboureko recipe, have a look at some of my other desserts:

Pecan Nut Fudge Brownies

Cantuccini Toscani (Italian Almond Biscuits)

Easy Chocolate Raspberry Brownies

Coconut Cookies with Mixed Nuts

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Yield: 12

Galaktoboureko (Greek Custard Pie)

Galaktoboureko (Greek Custard Pie)

A traditional Greek style custard pie, galaktoboureko consists of a vanilla custard made with semolina that’s baked in crispy, buttery layers of phyllo pastry. 

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours

Ingredients

  • For the syrup
  • 500 g (2.5 cups) sugar
  • 350 ml (1.5 cups) water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Zest of 1 lemon, unwaxed
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • For the custard
  • 4 eggs, medium
  • 150 g (3/4 cup) sugar
  • 300 ml (1 1/4 cup) double cream
  • 500 ml (2 1/4 cups) milk, full-fat
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp lemon extract (optional)
  • 150 g (3/4 cup) semolina
  • 110 g (1 stick) butter, unsalted
  • 150 g ((1 1/2 sticks) butter, unsalted, melted (for brushing)
  • 270 g ( 1/2 lb) phyllo dough sheets (1 package)

Instructions

Make the syrup

  1. Add the sugar, water, cinnamon stick and lemon zest to a small pan and bring to a boil. Allow it to simmer for a couple of minutes until the sugar is dissolved. Add the honey and mix until dissolved. Remove from the stove and leave aside.

Make the custard

  1. In a mixer, beat the eggs and half the sugar until you obtain a meringue-like texture. Leave aside.
  2. Add the remaining sugar, milk, double cream, vanilla extract, and lemon extract (if using) to a saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil.
  3. When it's boiling, immediately add the semolina and whisk until the mixture thickens (about 4 to 5 minutes).
  4. Remove the mixture from the heat and add the butter. Whisk until it's incorporated. Allow it to cool for 5 to 10 minutes until it's lukewarm.
  5. Transfer the beaten eggs and sugar to the semolina mixture and fold gently.
  6. Preheat the oven to 160C (320F). Melt the butter in a saucepan or in the microwave.
  7. Brush as 25 x 35 cm (9 x 11 in) baking pan with melted butter.
  8. Take one sheet of phyllo and spread it in the pan. It's OK if it hangs over the pan. Drizzle generously with melted butter. Add another three sheets repeating the drizzling process.
  9. Spread the custard as evenly as possible. Use a spatula or a wooden spoon and make sure the mixture gets into the corners as well.
  10. Turn in the phyllo that is hanging over and drizzle again with butter.
  11. Add the remaining sheets of phyllo dough on top of the custard, making sure you drizzle them with butter.
  12. When you get to the last sheet, turn it inwards to seal the custard. Drizzle butter over the top.
  13. Cut the pie into 12 pieces and pour all the remaining butter on it.
  14. Bake for 1 1/2 hours until golden and crunchy.
  15. Remove the galaktoboureko from the oven and immediately pour the sugar syrup on top. Wait to cool and serve.


Notes

Galaktoboureko can be kept refrigerated for up to three days, preferably in a covered container.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 617Total Fat: 30gSaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 131mgSodium: 295mgCarbohydrates: 82gFiber: 1gSugar: 59gProtein: 8g

Nutritional information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator.

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