Galaktoboureko: Greek Phyllo Custard Pie

Sweet, creamy, rich and wonderful.  I made Greek food for dinner on Friday night, and I wanted to make a Greek dessert that wasn’t baklava.  I love baklava and have a good recipe for it that hasn’t failed me yet, but I wanted to try something new.


There were so many different recipes and methods for this dessert.  Some were made in a 9×13 pan.  Others were made into individual little pies.  I baked mine in a 9 inch pie plate, and it turned out well.  There is something appealing to me about doing this dessert in little individual packages so that more of the phyllo stays nice and crisp.  However, the pie plate was nice and self contained with no serious risk of leaking.

This dessert is made of a custard of milk, eggs, semolina flour, sugar and butter wrapped in phyllo and soaked in some type of syrup after baking.  The kind of milk, number of eggs, and flavor of syrup varied quite a bit in the recipes I browsed, but the methods were all similar.  I chose this recipe from Epicurious .

Phyllo-Custard Pie


  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cups water
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange peel
  • 1/2 cup semolina flour*
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 11 tablespoons (about) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 10 fresh phyllo pastry sheets or frozen, thawed


Stir 1 1/4 cups sugar and 2/3 cup water in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Add cinnamon sticks and 1/2 teaspoon orange peel and simmer 2 minutes. Set syrup aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix semolina and 1/2 cup sugar in heavy medium saucepan. Whisk in milk and 4 tablespoons melted butter; bring to boil, whisking occasionally. Boil until mixture is thick and creamy, whisking constantly, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk eggs and 1/2 teaspoon orange peel in medium bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in semolina mixture. Mix in vanilla. Cool filling completely.

Lightly butter 10-inch glass pie dish. Place 1 phyllo sheet in bottom of dish. Brush with melted butter. Top with second sheet. Continue layering with 3 more sheets, brushing each with butter. Spoon filling into dish. Top with 5 more phyllo sheets, brushing each with butter. Using scissors, trim excess phyllo from sides of dish. With very sharp knife, score tip of phyllo sheets, forming diamond pattern.

Bake pie until phyllo is golden brown and filling is set, about 45 minutes. Transfer pie to rack. Immediately strain 1 cup cooled syrup over pastry. Cool completely. Cut into wedges and serve.

I LOVED this pie.  Crisp phyllo encasing a creamy custard.  Just delightful.  It was too rich for Ben, but most desserts are.  It was good at room temperature, but so lovely after it had chilled in the fridge for a few hours…and delicious the next day as well!  The cinnamon syrup is essential and gives the pie a nice flavor.  Try this next time you want a fairly easy and very  impressive dessert.