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GALAKTOBOUREKO

Greek semolina custard dessert in baked phyllo, drowned in syrup.

INGREDIENTS

SYRUP

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • Juice and zest of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 4 cloves

CUSTARD

  • 1/3 cup cold aquafaba (the liquid from a can of chickpeas, drained and separated)
  • 1/2 + 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • 4 cups Bonsoy (or good quality soy milk)
  • 160g fine semolina
  • 1 tablespoon vegan butter
  • 1.5 teaspoons vanilla essence
  • Pinch of salt

PASTRY

  • 12 sheets frozen phyllo dough (defrosted as per package instructions)
  • 5+ tablespoons of vegan butter
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METHOD

  • Preheat oven to 170 degrees celsius. Coat large baking pan in butter and set aside.
  • Prepare the syrup immediately after preheating oven or in advance so that it has completely cooled ahead of removing pastry from the oven. In a small pan, stirring, bring sugar and water to a quick boil before adding the other syrup ingredients. Reduce to a simmer and do not stir again. Remove from heat after 5 minutes and remove cinnamon stick and cloves. Set aside to cool.
  • To make the custard, in a clean, metal bowl, beat the cold aquafaba with an electric mixer on high until it froths and rises (as though you're making meringue with egg whites). Continuing to beat the mixture on high, slowly pour in 1/3 cup of caster sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
  • In a pan, bring soy milk, remaining sugar and salt just to a boil before adding vanilla. Stir constantly as you slowly add the semolina (as slowly as you can) and turn the heat down. Continue to stir whilst adding the butter and remove from heat. Set aside and allow to cool for at least 20 minutes. Slowly fold the aquafaba mixture into this once cooled, and mix well - ensuring that the temperature isn't too great to deflate the whipped aquafaba.
  • To prepare the pastry, melt the remaining butter and grease your pan completely. Lay your first phyllo sheet in the pan and splatter with butter, before repeating so that you have 2 sheets as the base for the galaktoboureko. Place your next sheet so that half of it is covering the phyllo, and the other half is hanging out of one of the edges of the pan. Splatter with butter and place another sheet squarely over the base phyllo and splattering with butter. Repeat this process so that there is half a sheet hanging out of each of the 4 edges of the pan, with an alternating sheet between each that lines up with the base phyllo - splattering with melted butter each time.
  • Pour custard mixture over phyllo sheets and smooth it over the pastry, removing air bubbles where possible. Fold over each of the phyllo sheets that you left hanging out the pan and splatter with butter, before adding 4 more sheets of buttered phyllo to the top.
  • Before putting your pastry in the oven, you need to score the top into the size of the slices you'll want in the end product (traditionally squares). You can use a knife for this, but I prefer to use scissors as they glide through the uncooked pastry much easier. However you do it, make sure to not cut any of the pastry on the bottom of the galaktoboureko.
  • Reduce oven heat to 160 degree celsius and bake in over for 50 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven and immediately pour syrup over the hot pastry, allowing for it to absorb into the top of the galaktoboureko. Allow to cool for at least two hours prior to fully slicing along the pre-scored lines and serving!

TIPS

  • Instead of fully brushing the pastry, splatter each phyllo sheet with butter and then spread that to avoid over-saturating your sheets.
  • Make sure the butter is melted, but not too hot when splattering between each phyllo sheet.
  • When creating the syrup, the traditional method is to not stir the syrup at all once it has been brought to a boil - just fish out the cloves and cinnamon stick at the end and you're set!
  • I cannot stress how slowly the semolina should be added to the custard mixture as you stir. Heed my advice! This also applies to when you mix the aquafaba mixture in the next step (remembering that it will be cold, and your custard will be warm, so mix slowly!)
  • Your syrup must be cool and your pastry must be hot (fresh out of the oven) for the last step! Some recipes ask for the pastry to be cool and the syrup to be hot. They are wrong. Ignore them.
  • Don't forget to score the top before baking! Or else you will need to eat the dessert as one giant piece. On second thought, be sure to not score the top if you don't intend to share.
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