12

Simple Vegan Tzatziki

Simply Vegan Tzatziki by Veganopoulous

Another family recipe, courtesy of my Mum and Dad! Their tzatziki ‘recipe’ (it’s in their hearts and hands, not on paper) uses Greek dairy yoghurt and for a long time I held off making a vegan version because when I veganise family recipes, I prefer to use ingredients that result in an almost identical tasting match to the not-vegan version of my youth. Coconut yoghurt was immediately ruled out because, well, it ends up like a coconutty tasting thing and not at all like my family’s dish. Cashew cream ends up too sweet. Silken tofu would have the tofu after taste. Right?

Well, I think I was a bit harsh on the old silken tofu. Today I decided to go for it and see how it would taste and boy am I pleasantly surprised. I do like my tzatziki heavy on the garlic and lemon and that does help mask any soy flavour. Still, I couldn’t detect a strong soy taste like I feared and so I’ve been fist pumping around the place, waiting to see my parents so I can get them to try this.

Simply Vegan Tzatziki by Veganopoulous

So when my parents make this, they break out the big guns and by that I mean their big huge Greek mortar and pestle. The thing that will break your toes if you drop it on your foot. Mum and Dad put peeled garlic gloves in the mortar with salt, then pound away with the pestle. The salt prevents the mashed garlic from flying out everywhere. Family events always involved the banging sounds of mortar and pestle the day before, while Mum got the tzatziki prepared. Before the days of less watery Greek yoghurt being sold in supermarkets, Mum would hang an old pillowcase of yoghurt over the sink and let it drain.

I don’t have a mortar and pestle, so I used a microplane for my garlic. You can also use a garlic press if you prefer, though it should be as close to mashed-like as possible.

For the cucumber, Mum and Dad always use Lebanese cucumbers that have been peeled, cut lengthwise and the seeds scooped out with a spoon, then excess liquid squeezed out. If they can’t find Lebanese, they use regular cucumbers. The cucumber is always grated, never chopped. Ha, they snort and shake their heads when they see TV chefs making tzatziki with massive chunks of cucumber!

For us, the flavour always comes from the garlic, lemon and extra virgin olive oil. Mum and Dad have never used herbs. Some people like dill, others use mint. Feel free to add those in if you like. I enjoy the tastes of herbs, but I enjoy my parents’ tzatziki without them because this is what I grew up with and faffing around with the flavours kinda feels wrong when it’s a much loved family recipe!Simply Vegan Tzatziki by Veganopoulous

This is a medium-ish serving but I only say that because Mum and Dad make a huge amount, so this amount seems wee in comparison. I wanted to base my recipe on a 300g block of silken tofu.

I would recommend that you keep this in the bowl you prepared it in (in the fridge), then if you’re going to serve it give it a good stir and put it in a nice bowl. In terms of how it compares to the dairy version, you can see in the photo the colour is more yellowy than white but taste wise? This tastes exactly like what my Mum and Dad make. I watched them making tzatziki many, many times so the process is pretty automatic for me and I’m super happy there’s no big strong tofu taste. I wonder if that depends on the brand of tofu, perhaps some are more soy tasting than others. I used Earth Source Japanese style silken tofu.

 

Simple Vegan Tzatziki
Print Recipe
This vegan tzatziki uses traditional Greek flavours of garlic, lemon and olive oil. Silken tofu is used in place of dairy yoghurt. You can change the amount of garlic or lemon to suit your tastes.
Servings Prep Time
4 people 15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people 15 minutes
Simple Vegan Tzatziki
Print Recipe
This vegan tzatziki uses traditional Greek flavours of garlic, lemon and olive oil. Silken tofu is used in place of dairy yoghurt. You can change the amount of garlic or lemon to suit your tastes.
Servings Prep Time
4 people 15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people 15 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Peeling the cucumber is optional. Cut the cucumber down its length and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds (seeds aren't needed in this recipe). Coarsely or finely grate the cucumber (your choice, I use fine but my parents prefer coarse). Squeeze out as much liquid from the grated cucumber as possible and set aside.
  2. In a small blender or food processor, whiz the silken tofu (with excess water pressed out) to make it all smooth. You don't want any lumps.
  3. In a small or medium bowl, combine the smoothed tofu, cucumber, garlic, half the lemon juice and salt. Stir to combine then add lemon juice to taste. I like mine lemony so start with half first!
  4. Before serving, give the tzatziki a good stir and put on a fancy plate or in a bowl. Drizzle with a little extra oil and garnish with some thinly slice cucumber.
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14

Gigantes: Greek Giant Baked Beans

Veganopoulous Gigantes Greek Giant Baked Beans

I’m really pleased to share another of my family’s recipes with you, this time my mum’s awesome Greek giant baked beans. Known as Gigantes or Yigantes, this is a perfect autumn-winter dish and pretty simple to make. The word ‘gigantes’ in Greek means giant, and if you’ve seen these on a menu listed as Gigantes Plaki, the ‘plaki’ refers to a dish being cooked in a tomato based sauce.

Veganopoulous Gigantes Greek Giant Baked Beans

Everyone makes this differently and as always, you can add a little of this or that. My mum doesn’t use garlic in her recipe and I think they’re fine without it but if you want to add some when sauteeing the veggies, go ahead! If you don’t like dill, you can add a little fresh parsley instead. If you want to make this an oil free dish, that’s fine too– you can just do the sautee step in a little broth or water.

Some recipes in cookbooks and online include the addition of sugar. I personally don’t think it’s needed and when I’ve tried the tinned ready made gigantes, they’re always a bit too sweet for me.

The cooking process is pretty straightforward and I’ve put together this little step by step photo illustration to tie in with the instructions further down:

Veganopoulous Gigantes Greek Giant Baked Beans

If you want to soak your giant beans overnight, go ahead. Mum says she never bothers and when she has soaked the beans, it makes no difference to the finished meal. Not soaking may mean your stove top cooking takes a bit longer.

The gigantes shown in my photos here are quite thick without a heap of sauce. We kinda forgot to take the beans out of the oven earlier so there’s not as much liquid butttt this isn’t necessarily a problem because I love them this way too! If you like slightly more soupy, you can reduce the cooking time. Veganopoulous Gigantes Greek Giant Baked Beans

Simple, delicious and nutritious! These beans are great on toast too  🙂

Veganopoulous Gigantes Greek Giant Baked Beans

Gigantes: Greek Giant Baked Beans
Print Recipe
Perfect for autumn and winter, this classic Greek dish is both easy to make and delicious. No need for the tinned versions or waiting for your next trip to a Greek restaurant!
Servings Prep Time
8 serves 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
45 minutes in the oven 30-40 on stove
Servings Prep Time
8 serves 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
45 minutes in the oven 30-40 on stove
Gigantes: Greek Giant Baked Beans
Print Recipe
Perfect for autumn and winter, this classic Greek dish is both easy to make and delicious. No need for the tinned versions or waiting for your next trip to a Greek restaurant!
Servings Prep Time
8 serves 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
45 minutes in the oven 30-40 on stove
Servings Prep Time
8 serves 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
45 minutes in the oven 30-40 on stove
Ingredients
Servings: serves
Instructions
  1. Optional step: Soak your beans overnight if you prefer. Make sure the beans are well covered in water. Drain and rinse the beans.
  2. Put the beans in a large pot and fill the pot with water until the water is about one and half inches above the beans. Bring to a boil then simmer until the beans are tender, about 30-40 minutes. Test three beans by gently squeezing them. If you've soaked your beans beforehand, check around the 20 minute mark onwards. The beans should not feel mushy. Drain the beans in to a colander and let them sit while you prepare the veggies.
  3. Preheat your oven to 180C (or the 'moderate' setting).
  4. In the same pot, heat the 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Sautee the carrots, onion and celery until tender on a medium heat.
  5. Add the drained beans to the veggie mixture in the pot. Sprinkle over the paprika and stir gently.
  6. Put the 500ml of passata in a large jug and add enough water to make one litre. Stir the tomato-water mixture and mix it in with the beans and veggies.
  7. Add another litre of water to the beans and veg and stir gently. Add in the salt, chopped dill and optional 2 tablespoons of olive oil. It will look like a very runny watery soup-- don't despair!
  8. Mix everything well then pour in to a large baking dish or casserole dish. Add pepper to taste if you like or more salt. Cover the dish tightly with foil and cook for about 40 minutes, checking at the half hour mark.
  9. Remove the foil and cook for another ten minutes. Keep an eye on the level of liquid in the beans. You don't want them to dry out!
  10. Remove from the oven when the beans are to your liking-- either with a fair bit of sauciness or more a thick stew. Keep in mind the mixture thickens more the next day.
  11. Serve the gigantes on their own, or with thick chunks of bread.
Recipe Notes

I've listed 30 to 40 minutes as the passive cooking time-- this is for the beans cooking on the stove before they go in the oven.

If you don't like dill, add in a little chopped flat leaf parsley to your liking.

If you are oil-free, sautee the veggies in some broth or water.

If you want more of a garlic flavour, add a large clove of finely chopped garlic to the pot when you sautee the veggies.

Some people like to pre-cook the beans with a dried bay leaf in the water.

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15

Saraili: Nuts And Sesame In Filo With Syrup

Saraili by Veganopoulous

Here’s another one of my mum’s family recipes I’m excited to share with you. Yay for awesome traditional family recipes that are so easily veganised! Saraili (“sah-RAY-ili”) is quite similar to baklava, in that it contains nuts in filo pastry soaked in a sweet syrup. The differences are the breadcrumbs and sesame added to the filling and the way the filo is assembled.

Saraili requires a large circular baking dish because you lay the filo down in a coil shape. My circular dish measures 34cm (13.25″) across. You could always make less of the recipe and use a pie dish, but mum and I make this in the large dish and share with family and neighbours.

It’s quite an easy dish to make. With a food processor, the filling comes together in a minute. Finely chopped (or lightly ground) walnuts, cinnamon, breadcrumbs, caster sugar and sesame seeds are mixed together, then sprinkled over a sheet of vegan-buttered filo pastry:

Saraili by Veganopoulous

The long edges are folded over an inch each, then the filo is rolled up in to a longer cigar: Saraili by Veganopoulous

The filo cigar is then coiled, with the ‘open’ long edge (what you ended with when you rolled the cigar) facing upwards so filling doesn’t fall out:Saraili by Veganopoulous

Add your next filo cigar so that one end touches the end of the previous coil. Bake until a lovely golden brown, then pour your cooled syrup on top and let it sit for at least a few hours so the filo can soak up the syrup.

Here’s what the finished saraili looks like when surrounded by firewood. And after a greedy relative has picked at the centre and edge before you’ve taken photos. See, it’s so good that people can’t wait:

Saraili by Veganopoulous

The vegan butter may or may not affect the final flavour. If you use a butter with a coconutty taste, you may have a slight coconutty flavour. Some people like to brush on loads of butter but I prefer to take it easy and brush it on sparingly. Any leftover butter can be spread over the top before baking.

Be warned, this is a sweet dessert! Feel free to omit the sugar in the filling if you prefer, so that the sweetness comes from the syrup. Don’t sprinkle too much of the filling on the filo to begin with, in case you run out before you’ve finished. If you run out, don’t worry– you can always cut this up pizza pie style and serve it and nobody will know.

And don’t worry if you tear the filo when rolling, it doesn’t really matter! It doesn’t have to be perfect and if you find rolling and coiling the filo difficult at the start, it gets easier.

If you prefer a plain orange or lemon syrup, go for it!

Just make sure the syrup has cooled completely before pouring it over the baked saraili. And try not to pick at it before taking a photo…

Enjoy!

Saraili by Veganopoulous

 

Saraili by Veganopoulous
Print Recipe
Similar to baklava but coiled in appearance rather than layered, this Saraili contains nuts, cinnamon, breadcrumbs and sesame for its flavours, and is then soaked in a citrus scented sugar syrup after baking. You'll need a large circular baking dish (mine measures 34cm, or 13.25 inches across). The serving size can really vary-- if you cut this up like a pizza in to eight 'slices', one of those slices can be halved for a suitable serving portion, as the Saraili is quite sweet! Gently separate a 'slice', then try to work out if you prefer the centre or the edges!
Servings Prep Time
16 people 30 minutes
Cook Time
35 minutes
Servings Prep Time
16 people 30 minutes
Cook Time
35 minutes
Saraili by Veganopoulous
Print Recipe
Similar to baklava but coiled in appearance rather than layered, this Saraili contains nuts, cinnamon, breadcrumbs and sesame for its flavours, and is then soaked in a citrus scented sugar syrup after baking. You'll need a large circular baking dish (mine measures 34cm, or 13.25 inches across). The serving size can really vary-- if you cut this up like a pizza in to eight 'slices', one of those slices can be halved for a suitable serving portion, as the Saraili is quite sweet! Gently separate a 'slice', then try to work out if you prefer the centre or the edges!
Servings Prep Time
16 people 30 minutes
Cook Time
35 minutes
Servings Prep Time
16 people 30 minutes
Cook Time
35 minutes
Ingredients
Filling and Filo
Syrup
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (moderate baking temperature). Brush your circular baking dish with a little of the melted butter.
  2. In a food processor, or by hand, finely chop the walnuts. With a food processor, process until there are very small pieces left.
  3. In a bowl, mix the finely chopped walnuts, caster sugar, breadcrumbs, sesame seeds and cinnamon.
  4. Take a sheet of filo and lightly brush it with the melted butter. Sprinkle enough of the filling so that the surface is mostly lightly covered out to the edges.
  5. Take each long edge of the filo and fold it inwards about one inch. Then starting from the edge nearest you, roll up the filo sheet in to a cigar shape. It shouldn't be too tight or too loose but don't worry about getting it perfect!
  6. Starting in the centre of your buttered baking dish, form a tight coil with the filo cigar. The 'open' side of the cigar should face up so no filling falls out. Brush the end of the coil with a little of the butter so it doesn't dry out.
  7. Take your second sheet of filo and repeat the sprinkle-roll up process. Place this second cigar so that one end meets the buttered end of the coil you just made in the dish. Tightly-ish wind the coil (don't worry if you tear the filo) and give the coils a little squeeze now and then to get them nice and tight. You might have to gently shift your big coil now and then if it's not centred when you add another length to the coil.
  8. Repeat until you have filled the baking dish. If there is any remaining melted butter, brush it over the top.
  9. Bake for around 35 minutes, though depending on your oven check at the 25 minute mark and rotate the dish if you need to. Make your syrup while the saraili is baking. When the saraili is done, remove it and immediately pour the cooled syrup all over (it may sizzle a bit so be careful). Try to pour the syrup over as evenly as possible. You may prefer to use a ladle. Let the saraili sit for at least three hours. It tastes better the next day and the day after that and is fine with being kept at room temperature unless it is hot or very humid.
Syrup
  1. In a small or medium saucepan, combine the syrup ingredients on a medium heat. Bring to the boil, stir, then gently simmer for ten minutes with the lid off. Remove from the heat and let cool completely, Remove the cinnamon stick and peel before pouring over the baked saraili.
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27

A Vegan Galaktoboureko: My Family’s Recipe

Faye's vegan galaktoboureko

Here’s another veganised Greek family recipe I’m very happy to share! Thanks yet again to aquafaba (I use canned chickpea liquid for my aquafaba– please click on that aquafaba link to read more about it!) I was able to recreate this traditional Greek family favourite. I had to experiment a few times because the first time I used the wrong sized baking dish and it turned out flat (but spot on everywhere else). The second time I used ground cinnamon in the syrup (Mum was horrified) as I ran out of sticks and didn’t make enough syrup so it all pooled in the middle and looked urgh. The third time turned out perfect but Mum and I tried the ‘lazy’ way of assembling the filo, but the filo got overcooked on the edges but not in the middle (but again, tasted perfect).

As always with family recipes, people have their own versions. One of my aunts puts cloves in her syrup but my Mum and I don’t. Of course, my version is completely different and not at all traditional as there are no eggs in the egg custard bit! Nor the dairy butter or milk called for. But it tastes pretty much the same and I find it has the same lovely custardy consistency. Plus it’s quite addictive, like the original. My Greek recipe testers agreed that taste-wise you can’t tell the difference between this and the traditional eggs-milk-butter version, so that’s a win for me! The traditional recipe with the butter and eggs is more yellow in colour, so it’s up to you if you want to add a little turmeric, as I’ve done in one example below.

The aquafaba is unbeaten (as in, not whipped) in the custard. I never bothered trying a galaktoboureko simply without egg or using an egg replacer as eggs are a key ingredient for the custard filling 😉  Truthfully, I was not at all sure my custard would hold its shape well when cooled and that it may be either too sloppy or like a dense brick of moosh. I’ve made semolina porridge on the stove enough times (semolina, plant milk and sugar) to know that when it goes cold it’s not nice to eat!

The recipe can be printed out below, but here are some photos of the process and some notes. I will highlight my errors so you don’t repeat them! But if you do, the errors still taste awesome 😀

– Preparing the custard filling of fine semolina, caster (very fine) sugar, seeds from one vanilla pod, cinnamon stick, lemon zest and almond milk. I add everything together then whisk so there are no lumps. Some may prefer to warm the milk first then slowly whisk in the semolina. Whatever works for you, just make sure it’s not lumpy. I’ve tried both ways and it turns out the same:

Faye's Vegan Galaktoboureko

– The custard has thickened and I’ve removed the cinnamon stick and whisked through the aquafaba. At this point you can add some vegan butter if you like but I don’t even though my mum’s non-vegan recipe calls for butter at this point. Be aware that if you’re using a vegan butter it may slightly influence the final taste (for e.g. if using a coconut oil based butter) though with the amount of lemon, vanilla and cinnamon I use those three flavours stand out the most:

Faye's Vegan Galaktoboureko

– Preparing the syrup involves boiling then simmering some sugar, water, cinnamon sticks, lemon peel and lemon juice. Can you tell I had no lemon peel left and got desperate? My other experiments involved using a larger strip of peel:

Faye's Vegan Galaktoboureko

Get your work space ready! Baking dish, melted vegan butter and your filo pastry. Keep a clean damp towel over your filo until you’re ready to take a sheet. Brush butter on your baking dish first. My baking dish measures about 25cm x 19cm x 8cm:

Faye's Vegan Galaktoboureko

– Brush butter over the sheet of filo then place it in your buttered baking dish. Depending on the size of your dish, you may have to overlap pieces. Don’t fold the filo to make it fit in the dish, it’s all supposed to hang out. Also don’t worry if your filo tears. Here you can see we’ve overlapped the sheets. I did about six layers:

Faye's Vegan Galaktoboureko

– The custard should be cooled (or at least ever so slightly warm to the touch, but not hot!) when you pour it in to your prepared dish:

Faye's Vegan Galaktoboureko

– Use a sharp knife to gently cut through the top layers of filo. Don’t cut through to the bottom! In this photo example, Mum and I folded the ‘lazy’ way, which was adding a few sheets to entirely cover the custard, then we folded the overhanging edges inward. I prefer to trim the edges and tuck them in. You can see how to do that in this video, which is in Greek but fast forward towards the end to see how it’s done. It’s very important to make sure your custard filling is enclosed properly so it doesn’t leak out and make a mess in your oven:

Faye's Vegan Galaktoboureko

– In this experiment, Mum’s oven browned the filo too much on the edges. Although the filo in the middle was cooked and crisp, we decided it was best to take it out instead of letting the middle brown more. Use your sharp knife to cut pieces all the way through but don’t remove a piece! I prefer to leave it cool before I cut it, but Mum and I were in a hurry here:

Faye's Vegan Galaktoboureko

– Your syrup should be completely cool before pouring it over the hot galaktoboureko. Here my Mum poured it straight from the saucepan but I recommend using a ladle or a big spoon. At this point Mum and I realised we didn’t use enough filo sheets on top and were a bit mehhhh just pour it straight on and get it over with! Now this is the hard part: LEAVE IT TO COOL! You will be tempted to pick at the filo. You will pick at the filo. You will go find something to do but keep coming back for more picksies. You will cut a weeeeee piece while it is still hot even when you know you should wait. I am certain of it. When it has cooled enough for a piece to hold its shape, without custard slopping around, that’s when you can stuff your face:

Faye's Vegan Galaktoboureko

– In the next ugly photo below, I tucked the filo in properly around the edges. Then I had a moment of panic where I thought I had made a mistake with cutting through the filo before baking, so I used filo scraps like band-aids and hoped it would end up looking like a pretty decoration. It didn’t. This is also the experiment where I used cinnamon powder in the syrup instead of sticks and I also made half the amount of syrup I needed. Not only has most of the syrup pooled in the middle, but the cinnamon powder has kinda made it look crap. So don’t use cinnamon powder!

Faye's Vegan Galaktoboureko

– In the next photo, I’ve tucked the filo in properly but it was too bulky around the edges because I had the batch of filo from hell, where the sheets were clumped together and kept tearing when I’d try to separate them. Still, biting in to a chunk of nice sweet filo doesn’t bother me too much:

Faye's vegan galaktoboureko

– This next pic shows a piece from the batch with the cinnamon-powder-in-syrup-instead-of-sticks. I’d also added a good pinch of turmeric to the custard for colour. Despite how fug this experiment looked (in the photo immediately above), it tasted perfect:

Faye's Vegan Galaktoboureko

– In this pic below, the slice comes from the same batch shown in the step-by-step photos. We didn’t use enough filo on the top layer. You can see it’s still quite pale on top, even though it was crisp and cooked. The custard is also the untouched colour (as in no turmeric). When the syrup is poured on top your filo will soften. It won’t look as good over the next few days but you won’t care:

Faye's Vegan Galaktoboureko

– This was my final experiment, using six tablespoons of aquafaba instead of four. Hard to say if it made much of a difference, because in this experiment I also added more syrup. The end result was a slightly softer custard, though whether this was because I added more syrup I can’t be sure. So if my recipe says use four tablespoons but you have six and have nothing to do with the last two tablespoons, feel free to throw them in instead of down the sink!

Faye's vegan galaktoboureko

The recipe is quite open to flavour changing. If this too lemony or not lemony enough for you, add less or more! Same with the cinnamon, same with the sugar in the syrup. Add a few cloves to the syrup if you like. Some may be happy adding orange and lemon peel to the syrup. Experiment and enjoy the process!

A Vegan Galaktoboureko: My Family's Recipe
Print Recipe
A traditional galaktoboureko includes eggs in the semolina custard. Here I've used aquafaba (my choice of aquafaba is the liquid from canned chickpeas). Encased in filo then soaked in a lemon cinnamon syrup, this galaktoboureko is every bit as delicious as the non-vegan version, standing up equally in taste and structure.
Servings Prep Time
12 servings 30 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 servings 30 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
A Vegan Galaktoboureko: My Family's Recipe
Print Recipe
A traditional galaktoboureko includes eggs in the semolina custard. Here I've used aquafaba (my choice of aquafaba is the liquid from canned chickpeas). Encased in filo then soaked in a lemon cinnamon syrup, this galaktoboureko is every bit as delicious as the non-vegan version, standing up equally in taste and structure.
Servings Prep Time
12 servings 30 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 servings 30 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Ingredients
Syrup
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Make the syrup first: put the syrup ingredients in a small pot. Bring to a boil then simmer for 10 minutes until slightly thickened. Stir occasionally. The syrup must be completely cooled before pouring over the cooked galaktoboureko, so set it aside while you prepare the filling. The syrup may be prepared well in advance.
  2. Preheat your oven to 180C. Prepare your work surface: melt the half cup of butter and butter your serving dish. My serving dish measures 25cm x 19cm x 8cm. Cover your filo pile with a clean damp towel while you work.
  3. Make the filling: in a medium to large sized saucepan, add the milk, vanilla pod seeds, semolina, caster sugar, grated lemon and the cinnamon stick. Whisk well to combine (you may find the cinnamon stick gets in the way) and cook, constantly stirring, over medium heat. When it reaches a gentle boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer (still stirring) until thickened. Remove from heat and discard the cinnamon stick. If using the 1/3 cup butter option, add it in now and stir through. Still stirring, add in the aquafaba and stir until well combined. The custard should be cooled (a little warm is okay) before pouring it in to the prepared filo. Set your custard aside.
  4. Take a sheet of filo and place it in the baking dish with the edges hanging over the side of your dish (don't fold it in to fit the base-- the filo should be hanging over the edges). Brush it with the melted butter over the base and sides. Depending on the size of your filo sheets and dish, you may need to layer half the dish at a time. Each filo sheet should be brushed with the melted butter after placing in the baking dish. Build up six layers of the filo on the base.
  5. Pour the cooled custard on top of the filo base. Take your overhanging pieces of filo and fold them neatly over the custard filling. Brush again with the melted butter if necessary.
  6. Now, taking one fresh sheet of filo, brush it with the melted butter and lay it on top of the custard, similar to how you lined the base. NOTE: some people prefer to splatter/sprinkle the melted butter instead of brushing it. Let the filo hang over the edges as before, like a big blanket. Repeat for about 6 to 8 sheets of filo. I prefer to brush the top layers with butter before putting them on top of the custard.
  7. The folding bit can be tricky and here I'm giving instructions for the nice neat tucked in filo. With a sharp knife or kitchen scissors, trim the overhanging filo just where it hangs over the edges of your baking dish. Then very gently tuck your filo in to the sides, like you're tucking a blanket between the bed and the wall 🙂 Don't worry if it's not perfect, though you must make sure your custard is trapped by filo so it doesn't escape and overflow. Please see my blog post as it has a link to a video showing how I do it. Brush with butter again, over the sides and tops as this helps the filo to go crispy.
  8. With a sharp knife, lightly cut the layers of filo down the middle lengthwise-- don't cut through to the bottom! You really only want to score the first two or three layers of filo. If you cut all the top layers by accident, don't worry about it. Just make sure you don't cut down to the base. Then make a few long perpendicular cuts, these will form your serving sizes.
  9. With your fingers, sprinkle some water on top. My grandmothers always did this to make the pastry more crisp. I can't say if it works or not but I do it anyway!
  10. Put the galaktoboureko in the oven at 180C for about an hour but check at the 45 minute mark. For the last ten minutes I like to put the dish on the bottom rack of the oven, to get the bottom layers of filo browned. When the top has browned nicely, remove from the oven. Have your cooled syrup ready.
  11. Ladle the syrup gently over the galaktoboureko. For my dish I use about four big ladles, so feel free not to use all the syrup if you're concerned it will be too much. Just make sure you pour syrup on those nice thick edges. If you feel you have to flatten the top of the filo (if it's very puffed) please be careful of the steam!
  12. The hard part: leave it to cool completely! Resist the temptation to cut a piece as the custard will be runnier while it's hot. When it has cooled, cut your serving portions and enjoy! You can sprinkle some cinnamon or icing (confectioner's) sugar on top to make it look nicer if serving to guests.
Recipe Notes

Please note this is just my family's veganised recipe. There are different versions of the non-vegan galaktoboureko including different ingredients, amounts and how the filo is folded.

Feel free to play around with the amounts of ingredients shown!

If it sounds tricky, please don't let it put you off! I would say the trickiest bit is when you have to fold in the filo. Don't stress about it (like I did *cough*)! If you're concerned you've assembled the filo incorrectly, put your baking dish on another tray to catch any potential overflow.

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