Galaktoboureko Beggar's Purses
Galaktoboureko, like baklava, is another classic Greek dessert, hailing from Macedonia. "Gala" means milk in Greek, and "boureko" translates to stuffed, which aptly describes these crisp phyllo pastries filled with creamy milk custard. Phyllo comes in different thicknesses; if possible, use extra-thin. Greeks often use Cream of Wheat as a thickener.
- 1 quart (4 cups) milk
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) butter, melted
- 1/2 cup uncooked Cream of Wheat
- 4 large eggs, beaten
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 12 ounces phyllo pastry
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium saucepan, scald milk and unsalted butter over medium-high heat, 5 to 6 minutes. Slowly whisk in Cream of Wheat. Lower heat to medium, and cook, stirring, 3 to 4 minutes. Slowly add eggs; continue to cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until mixture begins to thicken, 7 to 8 minutes. Add 1 cup sugar and vanilla; stir, and cook 10 to 12 minutes, until custard has a porridgelike consistency. Let cool.
Carefully unroll phyllo. Immediately cover it with plastic wrap and then a damp towel. Keep phyllo covered as you work.
Place 1 sheet of phyllo on a work surface. Lightly brush phyllo with melted butter; place another sheet on top, and brush with butter; place a third sheet of phyllo on top, and brush with butter. Cut into four rectangles. Place 1 heaping tablespoon of the custard in center of a rectangle. Gather and pinch pastry around custard, forming a purse shape with a ruffled top. Place in a muffin tin so it retains its shape while others are formed. Repeat entire process with remaining phyllo and custard, making a total of 24.
Transfer purses to a parchment-lined baking sheet; brush sides of purses with melted butter. Bake until flaky and golden brown, 27 to 30 minutes. Let cool slightly.
While pastries are baking, place remaining 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat; simmer 3 to 4 minutes. Let cool. Drizzle syrup over warm pastries.