A Twist on Galaktobureko Recipe: Serves 8-10
3 1/4 cups whole milk
1/2 cup fine semolina*
2 T. thick semolina*
2 T. cornstarch
1 cup sugar, separated into 1/2 cup portions
1/2 – 1 T. lemon peel, grated
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup butter
10-12 phyllo sheets or 2 puff pastry sheets
(*Semolina can be replaced by cream of wheat)
3/4 – 1 cup water
3/4 – 1 cup sugar
Preheat your oven to 350°/175°. Heat milk in heavy bottom pot. Mix semolina, cornstarch, 1/2 cup sugar, and salt – add to simmering milk. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until it begins to thicken, then remove from heat. In a separate bowl, beat eggs at a high speed for 2 minutes and then slowly add the remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Stir in vanilla while the milk/semolina mixture cools slightly. Prepare a 9×13″ pan or a round spring form pan with light butter. Gently fold the egg mix into semolina until smooth. Layer either 7 phyllo sheets or 1 puff pastry into the bottom of the pan, evenly pour the mixture and top with 5 remaining phyllo sheets or final pastry puff. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown and pulling away from the edges. While cooking prepare the simple syrup by boiling for 5 minutes and then letting cool. Remove pan from oven and spoon cooled syrup onto the hot dessert. Cool and serve. You can also prepare individual desserts by spooning the filling into buttered phyllo sheets and wrapping and folding into a rectangular present shapes, topping with syrup too.
All in all, I think that the puff pastry is easier to use than phyllo sheets but it also soaks in most of the syrup. If you prefer a typical galaktobureko than you will want to use phyllo sheets, but if you are in the mood for something easier with a slightly chewy crust, puff pastry is definitely the way to go! I think the lemon peel gives the perfect compliment of citrus and sweet to this custard-like filled pie. Perfect not that it is summer time…!!!
Thankfully, the birthday boy just loved it too! The combination of walnut and vanilla creme were perfect together. Walnut cake is also amazingly delicious when served with ice cream!!! Now that it is almost summer, maybe you could even add a scoop or two of your favorite ice cream! I served a slice with a cup of strong coffee to counter balance the sweetness and they also went hand in hand, for dessert or breakfast :)
Walnut Cake Recipe:
1 cup + 2 Tbsp. butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3/4 – 1 cup farina (AP Flour or semolina)
1 cup fine bread crumbs
2 tsp. baking powder
1 T. cinnamon
1/2-1 tsp. clove, optional
1 1/2 cups chopped, toasted walnuts
Instant package of vanilla filling and needed milk, optional
Prepare the oven to 175°/350°. Prepare 2 small round cake pans: buttered and lined with parchment paper or one regular cake pan. Beat butter and sugar until fluffy and smooth. Continue mixing and add one yolk at a time, scraping the bowl and mixing after each addition until all 6 eggs are added. Stir in brandy, orange zest and juice, and mix until all combined. In a separate bowl combine flour, bread crumbs, b. powder, cinnamon, and walnuts. In another medium bowl, beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. Slowly alternate combining the dry mix with the egg whites, mixing well after each addition. Evenly pour batter into the cake pan(s) and bake about 20-40 minutes depending on size of pan or until a knife comes out clean in the center of the cake. Cool on wire racks. Prepare the syrup mixture (below) and let boil for 5 minutes, remove from heat and cool slightly. Gently place the first cake layer on your platter and spoon a third of the syrup on until absorbed, add the vanilla creme and gently place on second layer, finally spoon another third of the remaining syrup onto the top cake. Reserve the remaining syrup to add just before serving or if you have a cake platter or dish with a lip to hold the syrup, continue to add all of it. If you are making one cake, simply add all the syrup at once. It works best if either your cake or syrup are hot/warm and the other has slightly cooled.
Simple Syrup Recipe:
2 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups water
1 cinnamon stick
1 clove or nutmeg berry
1 lemon slice
Spoon Sweets (γλυκό του κουταλιού) are very common to serve to a guest. They are always served with a glass of water and maybe another beverage too. They are perfect for offering someone for three reasons: 1) they are sweet yet also nice and fruity 2) they look lovely and a little fancy 3) they are something very unique and can easily be homemade and kept for months at a time. It is called a “spoon sweet” because it is literally served with a small spoon and on a glass or crystal plate (unlike mine because I didn’t have any glass or crystal)!
They can be made from almost any kind of fruit, although sour and bitter fruits are particularly used. Sometimes they use just the rind of the fruit and other times the whole fruit may be used. Some popular spoon sweets are made from oranges, watermelon, cherries, kumquats, quinces, figs, lemons, pomegranates, or various berries. It is also common to use unripe nuts, flower petals, or even olives! A well-made spoon sweet retains the original color, aroma, and taste of the fruit only sweeter, softer, and slightly chewy.
2 cups coarse semolina
1/2 – 1 cup nuts: walnuts, almonds, pine nuts, ect, chopped finely or processed quickly
Cinnamon and a few nuts for topping
1 cup sugar (raw, brown, or white)*
1 cup honey
3 cups hot water
1 cinnamon stick
2 cardamom pods
1 lemon or orange peel chunk
Heat the water in a small saucepan, and then add everything for the syrup recipe. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat, remove the spices and peel and cool slightly. Heat oil in another saucepan, add semolina. Continue to stir the semolina until the color turns golden, add the nuts and continue to stir until the nuts become slightly toasted, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan momentarily from the heat, slowly pour the syrup into the semolina pot, being very CAREFUL not to burn yourself as it may jump out of the pan. Stir vigorously to ensure that the mixture doesn’t clump together. Return to heat for a few minutes and cook until thickens a little, it should look like a thick, runny dough. Pour into chosen pan and cool until set in place. Flip or remove the halvas and sprinkle with nuts and cinnamon. I used almonds and the result was really delicious!
*Sugar can be reduced by half
I will be making this again when we are expecting some guests, it is a bit dangerous to leave around the house when there are only two of you!
I also have a great recipe for baklava coming soon made with dried fruits!!! Keep your eyes open and your RSS feeds tuned in!
I would like to introduce you to brown rice pudding, Rizogalo is usually made with white rice, but this recipe was made using brown rice. More fiber, a more dense and chewy bite, and all around a more wholesome flavor.
Brown Rice Pudding Recipe: Makes 4-6 cup size servings
3 cups whole milk (can also use vanilla soy or rice milk)
1/2 cup brown rice
1 T. cornstarch
1/4 -1/2 cup raw sugar (1/2 cup will make the pudding sweet, use less if you prefer)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. nutmeg, optional
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
Add milk, salt, nutmeg, and rice to a pot and cover. Bring to a slight boil on medium – medium high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce to medium low and cover, cooking for another 40-45 minutes. Cool slightly and then add sugar, starch, egg, and vanilla, whisking to combine until smooth. Return to heat, cooking more until thickens, maybe about 5 minutes. Pour evenly into individual serving dishes and cool to room temperature, then adding to fridge if you prefer to serve cold. Don’t forget to generously top with cinnamon!!! The result should be a creamy, thick, and slightly sweet pudding with a wholesome flavor. I recommend trying the “classic” version using white rice if this is your first time or you do not generally like the taste of brown rice. Whichever you choose, I hope you enjoy!
Anyway, my first encounter with loukoumades was at night when we were walking along the beach and we shared some just freshly made. I was taken away by just the smell of the honey and cinnamon, not to mention the crushed walnuts that also intrigued me. My first bit was melt in your mouth with every flavor and sweetness joining together to create a firework display in my mouth. I immediately began to count that there were only 4 left, which meant someone would get 1 more than the other person. As we shared this newly discovered delicacy, I savored each bite. I patiently waited until the end, and then I pretended to be done at which V insisted that I have the last one. Let’s just say that I didn’t put up much of a fight and that is when I knew I found someone pretty dang special!!! The last time I had that enlightenment was in high school and my now best friend Debbie came over to my house for the weekend and I actually shared my un-opened food with her. It sounds ridiculous now, but I used to hide all my favorite foods, mainly from my older brother. So, when I was willing to share something new and untainted, I knew she would be a friend for life!
Milk Pie dusted with cinnamon.
This is a delicious, filling, and popular Greek sweet.
It couldn’t be easier to make, and it always welcomes a crowd!
Try this out sometime. Recipe:
5 cups milk (at least 2% but whole is preferred)
1 cup sugar
1 cup semolina (fine)
1/2 cup butter
3 eggs, beaten
1-2 tsp. vanilla
Puff pastry or phyllo optional for bottom crust
Preheat oven to 350. Heat milk over heavy bottom saucepan on medium heat, adding butter until melted and simmering. Add sugar and semolina, stirring constantly with whisk until dissolved completely and thickens. Remove from heat, whisk for a few minutes to slightly cool, and then continually stream in eggs and vanilla while continuing to stir quickly.
Butter cake pan and then pour creme evenly, gently shaking from side to side if needed. Bake for 45-60 minutes, until golden brown on top and the middle is set. Remove and cool on rack for 15-20 minutes. Cut, serve generously sprinkled with cinnamon and an ice cold glass of milk.
Think of it this way, you will definitely meet your calcium requirements for the day!