Galaktoboureko: Custard Pie With Phyllo

Custard pie with phyllo recipe

​The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel

Prep: 45 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Total: 90 mins
Servings: 24 servings
Yield: 1 pie
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
275 Calories
13g Fat
35g Carbs
7g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 24
Amount per serving
Calories 275
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 13g 16%
Saturated Fat 7g 34%
Cholesterol 82mg 27%
Sodium 141mg 6%
Total Carbohydrate 35g 13%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 17g
Protein 7g
Vitamin C 17mg 86%
Calcium 96mg 7%
Iron 1mg 8%
Potassium 184mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This custard pie is a favorite Greek dessert. If you can get past the tongue twister name, Galaktoboureko (gah-lahk-toh-BOO-reh-koh) can easily become your favorite Greek pastry as well. It’s a divine combination of creamy custard and flaky phyllo dough that is baked to golden perfection and then drenched with a lemon and orange infused syrup.

The only caveat is that this dessert is best served the same day it is made. Once refrigerated, the custard tends to harden and loses its lovely texture. So make sure to leave time to prepare, bake, and enjoy the same day.


For the Custard:

  • 6 cups milk

  • 1 1/4 cups fine semolina, or farina

  • 6 large egg yolks

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

For the Galaktoboureko:

  • 1 pound phyllo pastry sheets

  • 1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, melted, for brushing phyllo

For the Syrup:

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 (2-inch piece) lemon rind

  • 1 (2-inch piece) orange rind

  • 1/2 lemon, juiced

Steps to Make It

Make the Custard

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for custard
    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  2. In a large saucepan, heat the milk over medium-high heat until just boiling.

    Heat milk
    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  3. Add the semolina and stir with a whisk. Lower the heat to medium-low.

    Add semolina
    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  4. Using a whisk, beat the egg yolks with the sugar in a bowl.

    Add eggs
    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  5. Ladle a cup of the warmed milk into the egg mixture to temper.

    Add warm milk
    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  6. Then add the egg yolk mixture to the saucepan.

    Add egg yolk
    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  7. Continue to cook over medium-low heat until the cream starts to thicken, stirring continuously.

    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  8. When the custard has thickened, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract and the butter. Set aside.

    When custard is thick, remove from heat
    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

Assemble the Galaktoboureko

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  2. Carefully remove the phyllo roll from the plastic sleeve. Most packages come in 12 x 18-inch sheets when opened fully. Using a scissor or sharp knife, cut the sheets in half to make 2 stacks of 9 x 12-inch sheets. To prevent drying, cover one stack with waxed paper and a damp paper towel while working with the other.

    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

  4. Using a pastry brush, brush the bottom and sides of a 9 x 12-inch rectangular pan with melted butter.

    Crust butter on pan
    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  5. Begin by layering sheets one by one in the bottom of the pan, making sure to brush each one thoroughly with melted butter. You will use approximately half the phyllo sheets for the bottom of the pastry.

    Layer sheets
    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  6. When you have almost layered half the sheets, drape 2 sheets of phyllo so that they extend half in the pan and half out of the pan horizontally.

    Layer sheets
    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  7. Add the custard in an even layer on top of the sheets, smoothing the surface with a spatula.

    Add custard
    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  8. Fold the phyllo sheet flaps in over the custard layer.

    Wrap sides
    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  9. Then add the remaining sheets on top, brushing each sheet with melted butter.

    Add phyllo
    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  10. Before baking, score the top layer of phyllo (making sure not to puncture the filling layer) to enable easier cutting of pieces later. (You can place the pan in the freezer for about 10 to 15 minutes to harden the top layers and then use a serrated knife.)

    Score phyllo
    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  11. Bake in a preheated oven for 45 minutes or until the phyllo turns a deep golden color.

    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

Prepare the Syrup

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  2. Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan and mix together. 

    Combine sugar and water
    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  3. Add the lemon peel and orange peel and boil over medium-high heat for 10 to 15 minutes.

    Add peel
    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  4. Remove the lemon and orange peel and stir in the lemon juice. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

    Remove lemon
    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  5. Do not pour hot syrup over the hot custard. Allow both to cool to room temperature and then carefully ladle the syrup over the galaktoboureko and allow time for it to be absorbed.

    Let cool
    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck 
  6. Once absorbed, serve and enjoy.

    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

Raw Egg Warning

Consuming raw and lightly cooked eggs poses a risk of foodborne illness.