Monday, May 16, 2005

galatoboureko (greek custard pie)

serves 12

3 cups milk
½ cup sugar
¾ cup semolina
1 tbs finely grated orange rind
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
¼ cup butter, cubed
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
12 sheets phyllo pastry
¼ cup butter, melted

3 tbs sugar
3 tbs honey
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbs orange juice
2 inch strip orange rind

In a medium saucepan, bring gently to a boil the milk sugar, semolina, orange rind, cinnamon stick and vanilla, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and simmer, still stirring, for 2 minutes, until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat and mix in the butter. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes, then remove and discard cinnamon stick and gradually mix in the beaten egg.

Turn oven on to 350 degrees. Unwrap phyllo and cover with a damp kitchen towel. One sheet at a time, brush on one side with melted butter and fit, buttered-side-down in a 12x8x2-inch baking dish (the pastry will overlap the edges). Repeat layering with five more buttered sheets, brushing the top layer with more butter. Pour the custard over the phyllo, spreading it evenly into the dish. Layer over top with remaining sheets of phyllo, brushing each with butter. Brush the top with butter. With a sharp paring knife, trim the excess pastry around the edges. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the custard has set and the pastry is golden. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

In a saucepan, combine syrup ingredients together with 5 tbs water. Slowly bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes for the syrup to thicken. Remove from heat and cool for another 10 minutes. Discard orange rind.

If phyllo has risen above the edges of the baking dish, flatten the top layer with your hand to prevent the syrup spilling over (the syrup will be extremely hot; use caution). Pour syrup over top of the galatoboureko. Allow to cool before serving.

Where to find it: Look for Orange-blossom water (Acqua Fior d‘Arancio) at Mediterranean import stores.

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