A taste of Greece for the Thanksgiving table.

Sue shared her family's recipe for Galaktoboureko, a deliciously rich and sweet dish that is one of those must-have Greek dishes at her family Thanksgiving. "No matter what holiday it is, there is bound to be at least one Greek dish on the table," says Sue. 



  • 4 cups milk
  • 4 tablespoons butter, plus 1 stick of melted butter for brushing the phyllo
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup uncooked regular farina
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 box of phyllo pastry, thawed**


For the Syrup

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • Half of a lemon
  • A cinnamon stick and 2 cloves (Or 1 teaspoon cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice)


To Prepare

Scald milk in a large saucepan. Stir in 4 tablespoons butter and the sugar. Gradually add the farina, stirring briskly to avoid lumps. Cook, constantly stirring until the mixture thickens and comes to a full boil. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat eggs well, until frothy. Slowly add the hot farina mixture into the eggs, while mixing briskly so that the eggs don’t curdle. Stir in vanilla.

Heat the oven to 350 F. Butter a deep 9x13-inch baking dish. Layer 6 sheets of phyllo into the pan, brushing each one with butter after you lay it in. (If your sheets are big, you can fold or cut them in half to make them fit nicely.) Pour the custard into the pan over the phyllo and cover with the remaining sheets of phyllo, brushing each sheet with butter. (Use as many sheets as you like, but at least 5.) When the last sheet is on, tuck in any edges that hang over the edge of the pan. With a sharp knife, slice through the top layers of the phyllo, making squares about 3 inches long. (Prescoring before baking keeps the crispy top from crumbling when you cut it.)

Bake 45 to 55 minutes, until the top crust is crisp and golden.  

In the last 15 minutes of baking, make the syrup:

In a small saucepan, combine ingredients. (I squeeze the juice of the lemon into the pan and then throw the rind in as well, but you can just use a splash of lemon juice.) Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes.

When the pastry comes out of the oven, strain and pour the hot sugar syrup over the top while it is still warm. (I pour it through a strainer.) Let it cool completely and then cut all the way through, along the lines you scored through the top. Store in the refrigerator.

**Note about working with phyllo dough: If it is frozen, thaw it before using. Do not open the package until the very last minute because it dries out very quickly. Once opened, unroll onto a cutting board and work fast or keep it covered with plastic wrap.