Galatopita: The Greek dessert you didn’t know you needed

Galatopita: The Greek dessert you didn’t know you needed

by Anna Leigh Bagiackas
Stripes Europe

After a recent trip to Greece, we, of course, came back wanting to recreate some of the dishes we tasted while we island-hopped: souvlaki, spanakopita and Greek honey with yogurt. Researching these dishes led me to discover galatopita or “milk pie,” a sweet custard pie sprinkled in sugar and cinnamon. This slightly sweet, creamy dessert was exactly what I was looking for to round out my homecooked Greek meal. Some of the components differ depending on where you are in Greece, such as having a phyllo crust or not, so I am sharing two different recipes: a traditional one and a creative spin-off.

Galatopita

Serves: 6

Start to finish: 4 hours, including chilling time

2 cups whole milk

1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus extra for topping

Zest of 1/2 lemon

1/2 cup course semolina

2 eggs, room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into cubes

Ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Evenly grease an 8 x 8-inch baking pan with butter and sprinkle with ground semolina.

In a large pot over medium heat, combine the milk, 6 tablespoons of sugar and lemon zest. Bring to a boil while continuously stirring.

When the milk begins to bubble, gradually add the course semolina while whisking to thicken the mixture, about 4 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, set aside.

In a medium bowl, beat the 1 egg with remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar, vanilla extract and salt. Pour the egg mixture into the milk and whisk until incorporated.

Add the butter into the pot and stir to combine. It should be smooth and without lumps.

Spread the custard into the prepared baking pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Drop the pan from a few inches onto the countertop to make sure the mixture is distributed evenly.

Beat the remaining egg and brush it onto the custard. Sprinkle some sugar and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the top is golden brown.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 1 hour before refrigerating. Keep in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours. When ready to serve, sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.

(This recipe was adapted from Siftnwhisk.)

The second recipe sort of deconstructs the traditional galatopita, using buttered phyllo dough as the structure within the custard, giving you rich custard-infused pieces as well as crispy pieces on top. This also incorporates raspberries, but you could add other berries or fruits instead.

Ruffled Milk Pie with Raspberries
Ruffled Milk Pie with Raspberries | Photo by Anna Leigh Bagiackas

Ruffled Milk Pie with Raspberries

Serves: 8

Start to finish: 1 hour and 15 minutes

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the pan

1 1/4 cups berries

10 to 12 sheets frozen phyllo pastry, thawed

1 tablespoon plus 1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

2 egg yolks

1 cup whole milk

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Powdered sugar for serving

Heat oven to 400°F (204°C). Grease an 8 x 8-inch baking dish. Scatter one third of berries over bottom of dish.

Place phyllo on counter and cover with a barely damp kitchen towel. Working with one sheet at a time, brush butter over one side. Carefully roll/scrunch long sides together to make a rope and then wrap into a coil. Place in center of prepared pan. Repeat with remaining phyllo and butter, placing coils around the central one. Scatter remaining berries over phyllo and sprinkle with one tablespoon of sugar.

Bake until phyllo pastry is golden brown and crisp, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and reduce oven temperature to 350°F (180°C).

Whisk eggs, egg yolks, milk, cream, vanilla, cinnamon and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl to combine. Pour custard over pastry and bake until custard is set, 20 to 30 minutes. Serve pie warm or at room temperature, dusted with powdered sugar.

(This recipe was adapted from Bon Appetit.)

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