Peter, of Kalofagas , my local go to guy for Greek specialties suggested that a must have at Christmas time is Galaktoboureko. When I saw the recipe my instinct told me this wasn't very figure friendly but then who am I to follow my own instincts? It looked fabulous and decided to give it a try.
7 large eggs, room temperature
10 cups of whole milk, room temperature (I used 2% lactaid and it was fine)
2 cups sugar
1 cup fine semolina flour
1 heaping Tbsp butter
zest of 1 lemon
1 package commercial phyllo
2 sticks melted butter (for brushing)
14x11 bakeware dish
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
1. Place a large pot over medium-high head and add eggs, sugar and semolina and mix constantly over medium heat until incorporated. (note: follow this - it burns really easily if you leave it)
2. Add milk, zest and butter and continue to mix using a potato masher until custard has thickened slightly. Place a tea towel between the pot of custard and the pot's lid, cover and reserve off the heat.
3. Pre-heat oven to 350F. Butter baking dish. Count how many sheets of phillo in your package and divide in half. One half will go on the bottom, the second half will go on the top.
4. In the bottom of the pan, layer your one half of phyllo, leaving the edges hanging over the sides of the pan. Brush each sheet generously with the melted butter. Pour the custard over the bottom of the phyllo layers.
5. Fold the excess phyllo over and into the pan and evenly distribute the remaining sheets of phyllo to entirely cover the custard. Again, ensure that each sheet is brushed generously with butter.
6. With a very sharp knife, score the phyllo (just penetrating the top layer of phyllo) to make the desired size and shapes of your Galaktoboureko pieces. (this makes it easier to cut later and will also allow the syrup to be distributed completely.
7. Bake in the middle rack for 35-40 minutes or until the top is nice and golden-brown. Allow to cool to room temperature.
8. To make your syrup, add the sugar, water juice and zest and bring to a boil and count 10 minutes for your syrup to develop.
9. Using a ladle, pur the syrup over the Galaktoboureko (1 ladle at a time) until the syrup is absorbed.
10. Carefully complete the slicing of your pieces (tracing your initial cuts); allow to cool for approximately 1 hour. Refrigerate uncovered over night to set. Serve cold or room temperature.
Notes: I should have cut the Galaktoboureko in smaller pieces. This is a very sweet and rich dessert and smaller amounts are preferred.
Verdict: I don't think I could make this unless I had alot of people over - I'd eat the whole thing - it's really a wonderful dessert albeit off the glycemic scale.
Peter said that when working with phyllo as long as you follow some basic rules it should be easy enough to work with.
1. Make sure you defrost frozen phyllo in the fridge overnight.
2. When working with phyllo use one sheet at a time and cover the balance with a damp tea towel to ensure it doesn't dry out (it can dry out really quickly)
3. Handle the phyllo gently - it's very fragile.
4. Make sure you brush melted butter on each sheet