“These pastries are my version of a traditional sweet Greek dish called galaktoboureko. It might be a hard word to say, but the combination of creamy semolina custard, crunchy buttery filo and fragrant syrup is definitely not hard to eat! If you can bear the wait, they’re best eaten the day after making.” Rachel Khoo, Rachel Khoo's Kitchen Notebook Melbourne
- 10 sheets filo pastry (see Note)
- 200 g unsalted butter, melted
- 400 ml pouring cream
- 400 ml milk
- 120 g fine semolina
- 1½ tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 30 g unsalted butter
- 3 eggs
- 120 g caster sugar
- 400 g caster sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon (see note)
- zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tbsp honey
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Standing time 1 hour
Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Lightly grease 12 holes of a muffin tin.
To make the filling, place the cream, milk, semolina, vanilla and salt in a saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking continuously for 5-7 minutes or until thick and smooth. It’s important to whisk vigorously to avoid lumps forming. Once the mixture releases a bubble or two, remove from the heat. Beat in the butter in and stand until slightly cooled.
Using an electric mixer, whisk the eggs and sugar until thick and pale, then fold into the semolina mixture.
Take one sheet of filo pastry and brush the top with melted butter. Place another sheet on top and brush with more melted butter. Repeat once more so you have 3 layers of buttered filo. Cut the filo stack in half lengthways, then cut each half into thirds to make 6 rectangles. Place a rectangle in each muffin tin. Repeat with another 3 sheets of filo to make 12 filo-lined muffin holes.
Divide the filling between the filo cases. Butter another sheet of filo sheet on both sides, then place another sheet on top and brush with butter. Cut into 6 rectangles as above, then place one rectangle on top of the filling and tuck it in slightly so it covers the top. Fold the edges into the centre, then brush with butter again. Repeat with the remaining 2 sheets of filo pastry and melted butter. Bake for 50 minutes or until golden all over.
Meanwhile, to make the syrup, place the sugar, cinnamon, lemon zest and 400 ml water in a saucepan and stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil and simmer for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat and stir in the honey. Transfer to a jug, stand until slightly cooled, then refrigerate until cold.
Remove the custard pastries from the oven and pour a couple of tablespoons of syrup over each one. Leave to soak for at least an hour before eating but they’re best eaten the following day.
• Filo pastry dries out very easily so make sure you keep the pastry well wrapped or under a damp tea towel when working with it.
• Using freshly ground cinnamon will give a more lively and intense flavour to the syrup.
• To allow the pastry to absorb the syrup easily, it’s important to pour cold syrup over hot pastries or hot syrup over cold pastries.