A plate of Galaktoboureko, a Greek dessert. pinit

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Discover the sweet indulgence of Galaktoboureko, a traditional Greek dessert that combines the richness of custard with the crispiness of phyllo pastry. This heavenly treat is a staple in Greek cuisine, and its name literally translates to “milk pie.” Galaktoboureko is a luscious, creamy dessert that’s perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth and impressing guests at special occasions. In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the process of creating this delightful dessert, step-by-step, and share some tips and variations to make it your own.

Galaktoboureko, pronounced “gah-lahk-toh-BOO-reh-koh,” is a mouthwatering Greek dessert that has a history as rich and layered as its flavors. The name itself is a combination of two Greek words: “gala” meaning milk and “boureko” meaning pastry. This dessert is a sweet custard-filled pastry that’s deeply rooted in Greek culinary traditions.

The origins of galaktoboureko can be traced back to the Byzantine era, making it a dessert with a history of over a thousand years. It has evolved and been perfected over time, becoming a beloved staple of Greek cuisine. While there are regional variations, the core of galaktoboureko consists of a custard made from milk, eggs, and semolina, all encased in layers of crispy phyllo pastry. Once baked to golden perfection, it’s generously drizzled with a fragrant sugar syrup scented with lemon or orange zest.

Today, galaktoboureko is a dessert cherished not only in Greece but also among Greek communities worldwide. It’s often served on special occasions, holidays, and family gatherings, symbolizing the warmth and hospitality of Greek culture. The combination of creamy custard and flaky pastry, with a hint of citrusy sweetness, makes it a dessert that captures the essence of Greek cuisine.


Galaktoboureko is a traditional Greek dessert made with layers of buttery phyllo pastry and a semolina custard filling, all soaked in a luscious lemon-infused syrup. The contrast between the crisp, flaky phyllo and the creamy, smooth custard makes each bite a delightful experience. This dessert is a labor of love, but the end result is more than worth the effort. It's a wonderful treat to share with family and friends during holidays and celebrations.

Tools and Equipment

Prep Time 30 mins Cook Time 45 mins Rest Time 1 hr Total Time 2 hrs 15 mins Difficulty: Intermediate Servings: 16 Calories: 450.16 Best Season: Suitable throughout the year


For the Custard Filling:

For the Phyllo Layers:

For the Lemon Syrup:

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).

  2. In a medium saucepan, heat the milk over medium heat until it's hot but not boiling. Remove from heat and set aside.

  3. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the semolina, granulated sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract until well combined.

  4. Slowly pour the hot milk into the semolina mixture, whisking continuously to prevent lumps from forming.

  5. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the custard thickens and reaches a pudding-like consistency.

  6. Remove the custard from the heat and stir in the unsalted butter until fully incorporated. Set aside to cool.

  7. Prepare the phyllo layers by brushing the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish with melted butter.

  8. Place a sheet of phyllo pastry in the dish and brush it with more melted butter. Repeat this process, layering the phyllo sheets and butter, until you have about 8-10 layers.

  9. Spread the cooled custard evenly over the phyllo layers.

  10. Continue layering the phyllo sheets and butter on top of the custard until you use up all the phyllo sheets. Make sure to brush the top layer generously with butter.

  11. Use a sharp knife to score the top layer of phyllo into diamond or square shapes.

  12. Bake the Galaktoboureko in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and crisp.

  13. While the Galaktoboureko is baking, prepare the lemon syrup by combining water, sugar, lemon slices, cinnamon stick, and lemon zest in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

  14. Remove the syrup from the heat and let it cool.

  15. Once the Galaktoboureko is out of the oven, immediately pour the cooled lemon syrup over the hot pastry, ensuring it seeps into the cuts made earlier.

  16. Allow the Galaktoboureko to cool and soak in the syrup for at least 1 hour before serving.

Nutrition Facts

Servings 16

Amount Per Serving
Calories 450.16kcal
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 16.74g26%
Saturated Fat 9.28g47%
Cholesterol 85.06mg29%
Sodium 179.74mg8%
Potassium 135.84mg4%
Total Carbohydrate 38.46g13%
Dietary Fiber 0.78g4%
Sugars 15.59g
Protein 6.9g14%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs. Please note that the nutritional values provided are approximate and may vary depending on the specific ingredients and portion sizes used. It's always best to double-check with your specific ingredients and measurements for accurate nutritional information.


Tips and Variations:
  • For added flavor, you can infuse the milk with a cinnamon stick or a vanilla bean before preparing the custard.
  • Some variations of Galaktoboureko include adding a layer of toasted almonds or walnuts between the custard and phyllo layers for extra crunch.
  • If you prefer a lighter version, you can reduce the amount of sugar in both the custard and the lemon syrup.
  • Galaktoboureko is traditionally served at room temperature, but some people prefer it chilled.
Serving Suggestions:
  • Galaktoboureko is a decadent dessert on its own, but it's often served with a dusting of powdered sugar or a sprinkle of ground cinnamon for added visual appeal.
  • For an authentic touch, serve Galaktoboureko with a cup of Greek coffee or a glass of iced cold frappé.
Allergen Information:

Galaktoboureko typically contains the following allergens:

  • Dairy: The custard filling is made with milk and eggs, so it is not suitable for individuals with dairy allergies.

  • Gluten: Traditional galaktoboureko is made with phyllo pastry, which contains gluten. Gluten-free versions can be made using gluten-free phyllo or alternative pastry options.

  • Nuts: Some variations may include chopped nuts, often almonds or walnuts, as a garnish or layer within the pastry. Be cautious if you have nut allergies.

  • Eggs: The custard filling includes eggs, so it is not suitable for individuals with egg allergies.

Wine or Drink Pairing:

Pairing beverages with galaktoboureko can complement its sweet and creamy flavors. Here are some options:

  • Greek Coffee: Enjoy a cup of strong, aromatic Greek coffee with a slice of galaktoboureko for an authentic experience.

  • Herbal Tea: A cup of herbal tea, such as chamomile or mint, can provide a soothing contrast to the dessert's sweetness.

  • Dessert Wine: Consider a sweet dessert wine like Muscat or a Greek specialty like Mavrodaphne to harmonize with the pastry's sweetness.

  • Espresso: A shot of espresso can balance the richness of galaktoboureko and cleanse the palate between bites.

Storage and Leftovers:

To store galaktoboureko and keep it fresh:

  • Room Temperature: If you plan to consume it within a day or two, you can store it at room temperature, covered with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap. Keep it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

  • Refrigeration: For longer storage, place the leftover galaktoboureko in an airtight container and refrigerate. It can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.

  • Freezing: Galaktoboureko can be frozen for extended storage. Wrap individual portions tightly in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil. Label with the date and store in the freezer for up to 2-3 months.

Keywords: Galaktoboureko, Greek Dessert, Custard, Phyllo Pastry, Semolina, Lemon Syrup, Special Occasions

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