Epirus

Galaktoboureko with goat milk

The popular Greek syrupy pastry in a rustic version with local goat milk cream.
Ηπειρώτικο Πρωινό-Galaktoboureko with goat milk
Before cooking...

Throughout the centuries, anyone passing through Ioannina (a city revered for its traditional pastries) wouldn’t leave without relishing some of the signature local galaktoboureko. And truth be told, the galaktoboureko is so near-perfect that it’s hard to tweak it, nevermind improving it. In this particular glute-free version the cream is made from local goat milk which is equally flavorful yet leaner than the more abundant and widely used sheep milk.

Galaktoboureko with goat milk

Ingredients

Galaktoboureko requires ultra-thin and crispy filo sheets. In Greece, a suitable ultra-thin filo dough for such hearty but also delicate desserts is the so called “Beirut-style filo” but if it’s not available in a gluten-free version, using the also very thin “filo kroustas” (gluten-free, of course) is just fine. So, depending on what part of the world you are, just look for whatever glute-free ultra-thin filo pastry you can find.

For the pie crust:

  • ½ kg gluten-free ultra-thin filo pastry
  • 250 g fresh cow butter, melted
  • ½ glass water

Για την κρέμα:

  • 125 g gluten-free fine semolina
  • 210 g sugar
  • 700 ml goat milk
  • 300 ml heavy cream
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons fresh cow butter
  • 2 vanilla powder tubes
  • Zest from 1 lemon

Για το σιρόπι:

  • 700 g sugar
  • 400 g water
  • 2 tablespoons glucose syrup
  • Peels from 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Execution

  1. Place a saucepan on medium heat and mix the ingredients for the syrup (water, sugar, glucose syrup, lemon peels, lemon juice, and cinnamon) until the sugar dissolves. Bring the mix to a boil and cook for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave the syrup aside to cool.
  2. Place a cooking pot in low heat and mix the milk, the heavy cream, the fine semolina, the vanilla, and the lemon zest, without pausing.
  3. Stop mixing and separate the egg whites from the egg yolks. In a bowl, whisk the whites with the mixer into a meringue. In another bowl, whisk the yolks until mixed. Add the yolks to the meringue stirring gently so it doesn’t break.
  4. When the milk mixture starts to thicken, add the meringue in the cooking pot and stir gently with a wooden ladle. Add 3 tbsp butter and mix with circular moves slowly moving the ladle toward the pot center until you have a thick velvety cream. Remove from the heat and prepare the filo sheets as fast as you can so the cream doesn’t cool.
  5. Set the oven to “upper and lower heat” and preheat it to 170 °C.
  6. Place a saucepan on low heat and melt 250 gr butter.
  7. Brush a baking pan with melted butter. Lay 5 filo sheets brushing with butter in between. Spread the hot cream evenly and lay the remaining filo sheets brushing with butter in between. Use your hands to fold the excess filo dough toward the bottom of the pan around the galaktoboureko.
  8. Score the pastry surface into pieces with a knife and drizzle with melted butter and water.
  9. Place the pan on the lower rack and bake for 1 hour (approximately) until the top is golden brown.
  10. Remove the galaktoboureko from the oven, slowly pour cold syrup over the surface, wait for it to absorb and serve.

Whatever the recipe, gluten-free or not, with goat or sheep milk cream, a well-prepared galaktoboureko is a delicious dessert that takes you back to the pastry shops and grandma kitchens of yesteryear!

After cooking…

In a naturally fortified mountain plateau, between the village of Kamarina and mount Zalongo, lie the ruins of ancient Kassope, one of the most significant city-states of Epirus. These days, we can only imagine how life was in the once thriving elevated city as we stroll through the unearthed alleys admiring the public spaces, the two theaters, and the agora overlooking Southern Epirus, all the way to the Prevezian peninsula.

Ηπειρώτικο Πρωινό-After cooking…