Galaktoboureko – the Greek pastries for refined taste buds

Greek cuisine has a surprising variety of delicious pastries featuring cheese, spinach and nuts, every variety being delicious and much appreciated by gourmets. Now we present the recipe of a pastry with a fine pudding-like filling that will delight your family and friends. The result is a fantastic combination of a creamy filling between two nicely browned layers of pastry, sweetened with orange, lemon or rose syrup just before serving.

The secret of the filling is cream of wheat, which forms a firm and special texture when mixed with whisked eggs, milk, butter and vanilla. The only trick is that the pastry has to be served as fast after done as possible, in order for the contrast between the texture of the filling and the crunchy dough to be enjoyed. A few hours after taken out from the oven, the dough will become soggy and the cream will be too firm.
This Galaktoboureko needs less than two hours to prepare.

Ingredients for 12 large servings:

For the filling:

• 1.4 l milk
• 175g cream of wheat
• 140 g sugar
• 1 tablespoon butter
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 3 eggs
• The grated peel of an orange

For the pastry dough:

• 1 pack dough
• 200 g butter

For the syrup:

• 280 g sugar
• 240 ml water
• 60 ml fresh orange or lemon juice, or 1 teaspoon rose water
• ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C.

Prepare the baking pan. You can use a 38 cm diameter round pan, or a 25×30 cm rectangular one. The pastry dough needs to be at room temperature or slightly cooler. Don’t open the package before use, or else the dough will dry out.

For the filling, combine cream of wheat with milk, 100 g sugar, butter and vanilla extract in a large bowl, over medium heat. Leave the bowl on the heat for 15 minutes while stirring the contents continuously, until the consistency becomes similar to that of a pudding or a thick cream.

Leave the filling to cool for 5-10 minutes. In the meantime, beat the eggs with the rest of the sugar and add them to the pudding along with the grated orange peel.

Prepare the pastry dough sheets. Melt the butter and first spread a thin layer onto the bottom of the pan. Then, separate the dough sheets into two parts; place the first half of the sheets into the pan and butter each sheet lightly. Press the sheets down at the corners of the pan, and let them overlay the edges.

Pour the slightly cooled cream over the dough and spread it out evenly. Place the second half of the dough sheets over the cream, buttering each one. Butter the ends that hang over the pan as well, and roll them back, so they form a frame around the inside of the pan.

Before putting the pastry in the oven, butter the top of it in abundance. Bake the pastry for 30-45 minutes, but check on it early, as the dough has as tendency to burn. When the surface bakes to a golden brown, the pastry can be removed from the oven.

In the meanwhile, prepare the syrup by mixing water, orange juice, lemon or rose water and sugar, and boil the mixture for 5 minutes. When the heat is turned off, vanilla extract can be added, too.
After the pastry is taken out from the oven, let it cool for 15 minutes, then pour all of the syrup over it. Leave the pastry to sit for an hour before serving, for the syrup to be completely absorbed.

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