Recently one of my Twitter friends remarked she was having trouble tracking down a sweet treat Hermes enjoyed in The Lady of Sorrows. The confection in question was milk pie – unsurprisingly (since I decide the fat man’s menus) a favourite of mine, too – so I thought it would be a good idea to share the recipe with you.
Milk pie comes in two forms, with filo pastry (galaktoboureko) or without (galatopita). The sharp-thinking amongst you will already have deduced that the names originate from the Greek word for milk – gala – and they’re originally country recipes, straight from the farm kitchen where there’s often a surplus of dairy produce. The pastry version is a staple of Greek bakeries everywhere, from the new wave of designer patisseries you can now find in most major cities
to the long-standing, passed-down-through-generations wood-fired village bakeries of the islands
Of course there are arguments about recipes for the perfect and authentic galaktoboureko, but if you can produce one that looks anything like this, you won’t be going far wrong. It’s definitely got the Wow factor, but trust me, it’s not as tricky as it might look.
If you want to try galotopita, the pastry-free version, simply make the custard, pour into a buttered Pyrex or earthenware dish and bake for about forty minutes. Cool before cutting. If you can find it, galotopita is excellent served with rose-petal preserve (which is also wonderful served with thick Greek yogurt for breakfast, by the way).
Author of the Mysteries of the Greek Detective, books with a touch of mythology set in almost-contemporary Greece, and featuring lots of fabulous Greek food.
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