Galaktoboureko

I spent last night stuffing my face with lots of delicious food at a Vegan Potluck at V Revolution, in Manchester. The theme of the evening was ‘Mediterranean’ and it took me a fair bit of Googling before I could decide on what to make. I wanted to do something sweet but I didn’t want to do anything really obvious like Tiramisu and I always make cakes so I wanted to avoid that.

I decided to make something a little more challenging. Well, I say challenging because it was supposed to be, I fretted over how I would veganise it and allowed myself 5 hours to make it so that I could overcome any disasters. There were none. It went a little too smoothly for a typical afternoon in my kitchen. I even managed a cup of tea and a sit down halfway through!
It’s blatantly obvious what I made from the title of this post but for anyone who doesn’t know what Galaktoboureko is, I’ll try and explain without drooling over my keyboard. It’s basically an orange infused semolina custard wrapped in sheets of buttered, flaky filo pastry, doused in sweet orange syrup. Sounds good right?
I won’t tease you any longer, here’s the recipe

Galaktoboureko

  • 2 packets of pre-made Filo Pastry (make it yourself if you’re completely insane, you need 12 sheets)
  • 1 cup of melted soya butter, you may need more
  • Pastry brush (or kitchen towel if you realise last minute that you don’t own a pastry brush)
  • 1 large dish
For the Custard:
  • 1 tin of coconut milk
  • 4 cups of soya milk
  • Peel of 1 orange
  • 1 tbsp soya butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 tbsp custard powder (make sure it’s the vegan one and stir it together with a little milk before you add it to the custard, avoids lumping this way)
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup semolina
For the Syrup:
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar
  • Peel of 1 orange
  • 1 tbsp agave nectar (optional)
  • 1/4 cup of fresh orange juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
First thing you wanna do is get your custard ready. Get a large pan and pour in the coconut milk, soya milk, sugar, vanilla, orange peel and the soya butter. Bring to a medium heat and simmer for 10 minutes or so. Make sure not to boil the milk, soya milk goes funny when overheated.
Whisk in the custard powder paste you’ve mixed up and slowly stir in the semolina. Make sure you keep whisking at this point, it will begin to thicken really quickly. When it’s all mixed together nicely with no lumps heat it through for a further 5 minutes or so before covering and setting to one side. Melt your artery clogging amount of soya butter and grease your dish with it.
Now for what looks like the terrifying assembly bit (it isn’t, honestly!). Open up your pastry and get it all ready in front of you. What you need to do here is line the dish with criss crossed sheets of filo, with each layer being buttered. So, lay your first sheet with the longest side going across the dish, grease that layer up and then make sure the next layer goes down the middle of the dish. Repeat this for 9 sheets of pastry.
Pour in your custard mixture and spread it out evenly. Preheat the oven to 180C.
What you’ll notice now is that you have a dish full of custard and lots of pastry flaps hanging over the side. What you need to do next is layer by layer, put the flaps back down over the custard, so that you’re wrapping it up. You need to slap on melted butter for each of these layers too! When you’re done it should look like this
You’ll find you have 3 filo sheets left, these are for the top of the pie. Pop them on top and tuck the sides into the dish, and you’ve guessed it, butter up each of these layers too. When you get to the last layer, liberally butter that up. You want it to go nice and golden and crispy.
With a sharp knife, score the top of the pie into how many slices you want to make. Be careful not to cut down right into the custard. With the remainder of the butter, spoon it into the cracks you’ve just made.
Put the pie into the oven and bake for 45 minutes – 1 hour. Keep checking it every ten minutes or so after 30 minutes. It’ll be ready when the pastry looks flaky and golden.
While the pie is cooking you can quickly throw together the syrup. Put everything except the vanilla into a pan and bring to the boil. Boil for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, stir in the vanilla and set to one side.
When the pie is done, leave it to cool for 15 minutes before pouring all over the syrup over it. Then comes the tricky part. You need to leave the pie for a few hours. I waited an hour before testing a slice. It tasted great but the custard hadn’t quite firmed up yet. If you leave it 2-3 hours it will be nice and solid and very easy to slice.

And there we have it, Galaktoboureka! It really isn’t as tricky as it looks, slightly time consuming but well worth the wait.
For anyone in the Manchester area, you should come along to the next Potluck. Not sure of the date yet, but keep an eye on both the Facebook pages for V Revolution & Cottage Cupcakes for updates.
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