Hello friends of the Internet!
It’s been a big week for little ol’ me. First order of business…
I got a job.
(Like paycheck and everything.)
(Basically I’m adulting for realsies now.)
Fortunately, something positive is finally coming of the veritable ordeal that was the MCAT (aside from, you know, hopefully actually getting into med school): I am co-teaching a 10 week MCAT prep course for low-income students at my university. I am super incredibly excited, and the two weeks that stand between me and my first class can’t go by fast enough.
(Well, except Chinese New Year this Saturday which is basically like second Christmas, but otherwise, go, time, go!)
Basically everything is fantastic.
…well, except for working with phyllo.
Which brings us to this week’s dessert: galaktoboureko (aka, Greek for milk phyllo pie…except, much more appealing than that sounds). I discovered these magically addictive treats at this amazing (but kind of pricey) Greek restaurant within walking distance of campus when I was having a really awful day and just desperately needed a surprisingly serendipitous food splurge to feel better. Then, when I went to Greece last summer, I obviously had to hunt them down in Fira and Athens – can confirm, still phenomenal everywhere. The full sized version of galaktoboureko is a delicious slab of semolina custard sandwiched between flaky phyllo pastry, drowned in faintly lemony syrup, and served in generously cut squares. But because it’s cupcake week, we’re going a slightly more avant garde route and making galaktoboureko cupcakes, which package a muffin sized portion of custard inside a cute little pouch of phyllo.
Quick tip about working with phyllo that I didn’t realize until I was almost done: keep it covered with a damp towel. Seriously, while you will use an obscene amount of melted butter in your layering and cupcaking process, no amount of butter will make dried out phyllo sufficiently bendy and not crackly for cupcake making purposes.
(Believe me, I tried.)
So if wrapping process doesn’t feel too terribly daunting, prepare to blow your own mind with these amazing galaktoboureko cupcakes. I promise the effort is 130% worth it. Hope you enjoy!
Makes 12 cupcakes
Inspired by A Girl Bakes in New York
2 cups whole milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup semolina flour
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
3 tbs unsalted butter, melted
10 sheets of phyllo pastry, thawed
1/2 cup melted butter for brushing
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 tbs honey
1/2 lemon, juiced
- In a small pot over medium heat, bring the milk and vanilla extract to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to low and sprinkle in the semolina a little bit at a time, whisking continuously to prevent clumping. Allow the mixture to thicken and come to a boil, then remove from heat to cool until it is just warm to the touch.
- In another bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until frothy. Whisk the egg mixture and melted butter into the semolina custard until fully incorporated.
- Set aside for filling!
- Cut the stack of 10 sheets into 6 equal sized squares. Cover with a slightly damp towel until you are ready to use.
Tip: KEEP THE PHYLLO COVERED. Otherwise, it will dry out and crumble as you try to form the cupcakes.
- Warm a large, flat plate for about 20 seconds in the microwave. Brush a layer of butter over the top of the plate, then lay down a sheet of phyllo on top. Brush the top of the phyllo with butter, the top with another sheet of phyllo. Repeat until you have a stack of phyllo pastry that is 5 sheets thick.
- If the butter has fully cooled, microwave the phyllo briefly for 5 seconds. Gently mold the phyllo into one cup on a cupcake tin to form a cup shape with the phyllo pastry for filling.
- Repeat for the remaining 11 cupcakes, then add about 1/4 cup of custard to each cup. Use the overhanging corners of the phyllo to wrap the custard, then brush the top with melted butter.
Tip: Make sure the custard is well wrapped, or else phyllo package will open as the custard puffs – spoon out a bit of excess custard if necessary. That said, the galaktoboureko will still taste great even if there is a little opening at the top!
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the phyllo is slightly puffed and golden brown. Set aside to cool completely!
Tip: If you have excess custard, it tastes fantastic and a little flan-like baked in a ramekin with the galaktoboureko and drizzled with syrup.
- In a small pot, heat the water, sugar, honey, and lemon juice until the sugar is fully dissolved. Allow to cool completely.
- Drizzle the syrup over each galaktoboureko cupcake, allowing the syrup to soak in slightly. Serve immediately for crisper phyllo or allow to sit in syrup for a few hours for a softer, more saturated pastry. Kalí órexi!