Trip to Greece leaves hunger for galaktoboureko

Christine Gallagher discovered galaktoboureko at a taverna on the island of Antiparos in Greece three years ago and has since created the recipe.



For custard layer:

4 cups milk (at least 1 percent)

1/4 cup honey

1/2 cup farina (Cream of Wheat)

2 tablespoons butter (not margarine)

6 eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla

For bottom and top crust:

1/2 pound phyllo (fillo)

1/2 pound butter, melted

For sauce:

1 cup honey

1/2 cup water

1 cinnamon stick

1/2 teaspoon whole cloves

Splash of orange juice

Juice from 1/2 a lemon

1. In a large bowl, whisk together milk, honey, farina, butter and eggs. Microwave on high* for two minutes. Remove from microwave and whisk well. Repeat this process several times, until the mixture thickens. Add vanilla and set aside.

* You can also heat the mixture in a saucepan on the stove top, being sure to stir constantly.

2. Brush the sides and bottom of a 13x9-inch baking pan with melted butter. Lay one sheet of phyllo on the bottom of the pan and brush evenly with butter (and don’t worry about treating the phyllo tenderly, it’s very forgiving). Repeat with eight more sheets of phyllo.

3. Pour the milk mixture over the layered phyllo. Cover the mixture with a sheet of phyllo and brush gently with butter. Repeat with 8–10 more sheets.

4. Bake at 350 degrees until the phyllo is golden brown and the custard is set, approximately 40–50 minutes. While it’s baking, combine the honey, water, cinnamon, cloves, orange juice and lemon juice in a bowl and microwave on high for three minutes (you also can heat it in a saucepan on the stove top, stirring constantly). Stir and microwave for another two to three minutes, or until the honey is dissolved. Remove cloves and cinnamon. Cool.

5. When the pastry comes out of the oven, cut it with a very sharp knife into diamond or square pieces and pour the cooled syrup over the hot pastry. Keep the extras refrigerated.Have you recreated A Delicious Thing You Ate One Time? Contact Rachel Sauer at 256-4263 or Rachel. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for future stories about memories of delicious in The Daily Sentinel.

Three years ago, Christine Gallagher was sitting on a rocky, deserted beach on the island of Antiparos in Greece. The others in her group, including her husband, Gordon, were out swimming, but that’s not really her thing so she stayed on land.

It was blisteringly hot. It was a little boring. As far as days go, this one was mediocre. But then a boat full of French travelers docked, and they had casks of wine. Impromptu party! And then Gallagher’s group returned and they found that beyond the barren beach was a small taverna where course after course of amazing food awaited them.

And the dessert: part vanilla custard, part baklava, liberally drizzled with honey and entirely bliss.

“I’d never had anything like it,” Gallagher recalled, even though she and her husband had spent a semester in Greece during college studying art and archaeology.

The friendly chef at the taverna wouldn’t reveal the recipe, unfortunately, so when the Gallaghers returned to Grand Junction, Christine vowed to recreate the dessert, called galaktoboureko.

Along the way, culinary revelations came: phyllo (fillo) dough isn’t as capricious and delicate as its reputation suggests, real ingredients taste better (butter rather than margarine, for example, and honey rather than sugar), and it’s OK to eat dessert.

As a natural health practitioner, Gallagher had a pang about the butter, “but you don’t eat this every day,” she explained. “It’s important to enjoy food, to enjoy meals, and to just be moderate about it.”

Her philosophy dovetails nicely with the Greek spirit of meals as celebrations, to be savored rather than rushed, and topped off with creamy, flaky, heavenly dessert.



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