Galaktoboureko is made a little differently from island to island in Greece. The thick and creamy custard sitting between two sheets of sugar-syrup-soaked filo is a Greek classic sometimes made with orange blossom but this recipe keeps it simple with traditional vanilla.






Skill level

Average: 3.2 (235 votes)


  • 1 L milk
  • 220 g (1 cup) caster sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
  • 180 g (1½ cup) fine semolina
  • 100 g unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten, plus 2 egg yolks
  • 8 sheets fresh filo pastry

Sugar syrup

  • 165 g (¾ cup) caster sugar
  • 1 lemon, zested into thick strips, juiced

Cook's notes

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.


Cooling time 2 hours 30 minutes

Place milk, sugar and vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to just below boiling point. Whisk in semolina in a steady stream and cook, whisking continuously, for 3 minutes or until thick. Whisk in 1 tbsp butter, transfer to a bowl and cover surface with plastic wrap. Set aside for 15 minutes or until slightly cooled. Stir in eggs and egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Discard vanilla bean, cover with plastic wrap and set aside to cool to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 170°C. Grease a 4 cm-deep, 20 cm x 30 cm slice pan with butter. Brush a filo sheet with butter, fold in half and brush top with more butter. Repeat with the remaining filo sheets. Layer 4 pieces and use to line base of pan. Pour over custard and smooth top. Layer remaining pastry on top and brush with butter. Bake for 45 minutes or until pastry is golden and custard is set.

Meanwhile, to make sugar syrup, combine sugar, lemon zest, juice and 125 ml water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to the boil and cook, without stirring, for 5 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Pour hot syrup over hot pastry and stand for 2 hours or until pastry has absorbed syrup. Cut into pieces to serve.


Drink Limnos Wines Muscat of Lemnos, Greece ($13)


Photography Alan Benson & Ben Dearnley.

As seen in Feast magazine, May 2014, Issue 31.