Monday, March 8, 2010

Galopita, one of my favorite Greek desserts (or breakfast!)

One of the desserts I love a lot of Galopita, or another version called Galaktobouriko that use fillo dough (which I will cover as well).

This dessert is made every Christmas and every Easter, no matter what.  It's a standard that I plan on keeping when I'm in charge of both holidays.

Basically, galopita is a baked custard of sorts.  Not like creme brulee or creme caramel, but baked and delicious.  From what I have learned, the way my mother was taught and the way I was taught is not a standard recipe. Probably b/c of the Farina used.  Not too many people have heard of Farina, but it is sold right next to the Cream of Wheat in the cereal section.  We love Farina in our house.  On cold winter Saturdays, we'll make a little pot full of the stuff, plain.  Mom puts black raspberry jelly in hers.  I usually pour honey in mine.  Dad can take it any way he wants, but usually honey and raisins.Bob's Red Mill Organic Brown Rice Farina Creamy Rice Hot Cereal, 26-Ounce Packages (Pack of 4)Apparently, they carry is in a brown rice version, but I haven't tried it.  I prefer the old time stuff.  Plus, this version is expensive as hell!!!

Anyways, let's get back on track here.  This recipe can seem complicated, which was why I never learned it before this past Christmas.  But I sucked it up and helped my mom make it.  I'm glad I did b/c it's not as scary as it seemed...
This recipe makes 2- 9x13 pans of the stuff.  Typically, my mom will make one galopita and one galaktobouriko, but the pictures below will only show the galopita.  I will tell you how to convert it to galaktobouriko; don't worry, it's easy!!!

-1 gallon of milk.  (you can use any milk, but if you use whole milk, cut the Farina by 1/4 cup.  we use skim milk)
-1 stick of butter (we use salted, but it doesn't matter which you use)
-2 cups of sugar
-2 1/2 cups of Farina (or 2 1/4 cups for whole milk)
-2 tsp real vanilla extract
-4 large eggs
-1/2 cup of honey
-2 Tbsp of water


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease 2- 9x13 pans.  If you are using glass pans, preheat the oven to 325 degrees only.

We suggest microwaving (I know, it's so bad!) the milk for about 10-15 minutes first to get it warmed up.  Since there is a tons of milk being warmed, it'll take forever on the stove top from being cold and you will have a greater chance scalding the milk if it's not warmed through first. 
After you warm it in the mircowave, put it on a medium setting on the stove top.  Put the stick of butter (cold, whole, cut up, however you want, just not melted) into the milk while it's heating up.  Also pour in the sugar.  Let the milk heat up until it is slightly bubbling, but not boiling.  Make sure you are stirring frequently w/ a wooden spoon to keep the bottom of the pan from burning the milk.  You can taste the milk to make sure it is sweet enough at this point.  If not, add a bit more sugar, 2 Tbsp as a time. 
While the milk is heating up, beat the eggs w/ an electric mixer, using the whisk attachment.  Beat until they are extremely fluffy and bubbly. 
Once the milk is thoroughly heated and slightly bubbly, turn off the heat and pour in the Farina, slowly and constantly stirring.   You do not want to stop stirring b/c you do not want it to clump up or burn on the bottom!  Add the vanilla.  Keep stirring.
Once it is COMPLETELY mixed and smooth, add a little bit of the Farina mixture to the eggs while they are still beating, to temper them.  Just add a little bit, slowly.  You want to heat the eggs up enough to temper them so that they don't cook when you add them to the Farina b/c then you've just wasted a whole gallon of milk.
When the eggs are tempered, add the egg mix to the Farina and stir hard and fast, you can use the wooden spoon still, or do as I did and grab a whisk.  It makes it easier. 
Once it is completely mixed together, pour the Farina evenly into each greased pan**

Bake for about 1 hour, until the top is nice and golden brown. 
Depending on your oven, I would check it after 45 minutes, just to be safe.  If it isn't ready, this would be the perfect time to take the honey and heat it on the stove top.  Add 2 Tbsp of water to thin the honey out, but you do not want watery honey!  You just want it a bit thinner than normal syrupy honey is.  
Once you pull the galopita out of the oven, poke a fork throughout the top of the dessert.  Take the warmed thinned honey mixture and spoon over the top. 
You have to poke holes to get the honey to sink into the galopita.  This is good served warm or cold.
As you can see, it's not drenched in honey.  Add as much as you like, but once it all settles, it won't be drenched and soggy.  It'll be delicious  :)
**Okay, for galaktobouriko.  The only difference as I said before was the addition of fillo dough.  When making galaktobouriko, instead of pouring the Farina mix directly into the greased pan, first you are going to layer fillo dough onto the greased pan.  Lay one layer down, letting the edges hang over the sides and ends, lightly brush on melted butter, add another layer, more melted butter, etc.  You are going to want 7 layers, but the key is to make sure you brush a light layer of melted butter on top of each layer before adding the next one.  Pour the Farina mix on top and then add more fillo layers, one at a time w/ melted butter on top of each layer.  Once it is covered, trim the excess fillo dough.  You can then press or tuck the edges in together like you would a double crusted pie.  I admit that I do prefer galaktobouriko over galopita, but I will eat both any day that it's offered to me!

Btw, some people use citrus extracts or liquor in their versions of these desserts. I'm not saying they are wrong and I'm not saying I'm right, but I am just saying that I prefer the simply taste of the vanilla and honey.  I'm not into adding citrus, but it is completely my tastes!  If you want to add a bit of citrus extract or liquor, do it where I added the vanilla. 


How To Eat A Cupcake said...

Mmmmm this has so many flavors that I loooove! :) I'll have to try it some time!

Conor @ HoldtheBeef said...

I haven't tried this before and now I really want to. Greeks really know how to make a good dessert!!

NikiTheo said...

I do love Greek desserts so much!! I'll be stealing my grandmother's cookie recipes soon so you'll be seeing more and more coming!

megan said...

this looks so interesting! I've recently started liking honey more and more, so this sounds great!

Peter G @ Souvlaki For The Soul said...

I must admit to never making looks absolutely delicious. This is another one of those Greek classics I need to make...thank you for sharing!

Maria said...

Lovely galatopita. Sounds and looks delicious!

Anonymous said...

thanks a lot! Efxaristo para poli! Tha majereipso!