A Vegan Galaktoboureko: My Family’s 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
12servings 30minutes
Cook Time
Servings Prep Time
12servings 30minutes
Cook Time
  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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