Trip to Greece leaves hunger for galaktoboureko
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.