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traditional greek custard pie galaktoboureko on a plate and in a pan on a white countertop with cinnamon sticks and dried roses

Traditional Greek Custard Pie Galaktoboureko (Easy + Tips)

If you’re a custard lover, you’ll definitely love this dessert! Galaktoboureko is a traditional Greek custard pie that’s encased in crispy phyllo dough and drenched in a delicious, flavored syrup. 
Course Dessert
Cuisine Greek
Greek, vanilla, custard, phyllo dough, galaktoboureko, syrup dessert
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings 8 large or 16 small pieces


For the syrup

  • 2 ½ cups (500 g) white sugar
  • 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons (300 ml) water
  • juice from half a lemon
  • 1 cinnamon stick

For the vanilla custard filling

  • 2 ¾ cups (700 ml) milk 
  • 1 ¼ cup (300 ml) heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla bean powder OR 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon (160 g / 5.6 oz) sugar
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 6 egg yolks
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (80 g / 2.8 oz) cornstarch

For assembling the pie

  • 1 package phyllo dough (about 12-14 sheets), thawed
  • 1 cup (250 g) butter, melted 


Make the syrup

  • Put all the ingredients for the syrup in a small saucepan and bring to a rapid boil. Boil for EXACTLY 4 minutes. Take off the heat and set aside.

Make the vanilla custard filling

  • In a small saucepan, heat the milk, cream, vanilla bean powder or vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons of the sugar. Whisk on medium heat to combine, but don't bring to a boil.
  • In another bowl, whisk together the remaining sugar, cornstarch, whole eggs and egg yolks. 
  • Pour some of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture and whisk to combine.
  • Pour the egg mixture into the saucepan with the cream and and whisk on medium heat until it thickens, about 2-4 minutes. When it thickens, take it off the heat and place some plastic wrap on the surface to prevent crusting.
  • Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 325°F / 165°C.

Assemble the pie

  • Generously butter your pan.
  • Place a sheet of phyllo in the pan letting it hang over the other sides (left side and top).  Butter the sheet well.
  • Add another sheet and let it hang over the top and right side of the pan. Gently press it in the corners and sides. Butter it well.
  • Continue moving clockwise with the remaining sheets so that you end up with sheets overhanging on all sides of the pan. 
  • When there are no more sheets left, add the filling and even it out. 
  • Fold the sheets over the filling, one at a time, and butter each one well.
  • Score the top of the pie.
  • Bake for 60-80 minutes, until it's golden brown.
  • When done, remove from the oven and pour the cold syrup evenly over it. Don’t add the syrup all at once. Add a ladle at a time and wait a bit for the dessert to absorb it before adding more*.
  • Let the dessert sit for about an hour before serving. 
  • This dessert is best eaten the day it’s made. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days**.
  • Enjoy!


*The amount of syrup for this dessert is what’s traditionally used and the sweetness is not overpowering. However, if you prefer less syrup, I suggest pouring a little syrup over the dessert. Then wait for it to be absorbed and taste it to see if you want more syrup or not.
**When refrigerated, the phyllo dough will soften and lose its crunchiness, but it’ll still taste great.
© Pastry Wishes