An easy-to-make twist on classic pistachio galaktoboureko!
Watch the Video
These pistachio galaktoboureko rolls are a twist off of a classic Greek custard pie known as galaktoboureko. It’s as popular as baklava in Greece and equally as delicious. Recently, I saw a recipe online for these little Turkish baklava desserts that looked like shells. I tried to recreate them with my own spin, but it went horribly wrong. Ha! So, I made it super simple by turning them into rolls. They are so easy, beautiful, and delicious that you may end up making these a lot!
Why you’ll make these often
- Crispy filled phyllo
- Creamy vanilla custard
- Sweet and sticky syrup
- An easy way to serve delicious pistachio galaktoboureko!
Everything you’ll need
- Phyllo pastry –thawed and at room temperature
- Unsalted butter –melted
- Ground pistachios for filling and garnish
For the syrup:
- Granulated sugar
- Honey –Greek honey has the best flavor
- Juice of an orange –or lemon
- Pure vanilla extract –always use good quality
For the custard:
- Whole milk
- Granulated sugar
- Fine semolina flour –
- Cornstarch –also known as corn flour
- Whole eggs
- Egg yolk –save the egg white for meringue or egg white omelet
- Pure vanilla extract
Working with phyllo
There are a few tips to remember when working with phyllo. First, thaw the phyllo pastry in the refrigerator at least one day before using it. Then, set it on the counter to come to room temperature at least an hour before you will work with it. Leave it in the package while on the counter, so it doesn’t dry out and crumble. Remove the phyllo from the package when you’re ready to assemble your rolls. To keep the phyllo from drying out while working with it, place a dry kitchen towel over it with a slightly damp kitchen towel on top.
How to make Pistachio Galaktoboureko Rolls
Make the Syrup:
- Combine the sugar, water, and orange juice in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Stir the mixture and as soon as the sugar melts, remove the pan from the heat.
- Mix in the honey, rosewater, and vanilla extract and set aside to cool completely.
The best way to keep your rolls crispy when adding syrup is to add cold syrup to the hot rolls just after removing them from the oven. It allows the syrup to be absorbed properly without making the rolls soggy. So, if you have time, make the syrup a day ahead and store it in the refrigerator until ready to use. If you’re able to do this, use a metal pan for cooking the rolls. Trust me, cold syrup on hot glass is not a fun clean-up.
Make the Custard:
- Pour the milk into a saucepan and add the salt and half of the sugar.
- Cook over medium-low heat until scalding hot.
- In the meantime, whisk together the eggs, semolina, cornstarch, and the remaining sugar in a mixing bowl until smooth.
- Slowly add a small stream of the scalding hot milk to the egg mixture while constantly whisking to temper the eggs.
- Then, add everything back into the pan and cook until thickened.
- Remove from the heat and add the vanilla extract.
Notice that half the sugar was added to the milk in the saucepan? Putting sugar in the bottom of the pot before heating milk keeps the milk from scalding.
Assemble the Pastries:
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F, 180 °C.
- Line a baking tray with parchment paper and set it aside.
- Take one sheet of phyllo, drizzle some melted butter over the top, and fold it in half lengthwise.
- Drizzle butter over the top of the folded phyllo and place a small scoop of custard in the center of one of the short ends of the pastry –about 1-1½ tablespoons.
- Top the custard with a tablespoon of ground pistachios.
- Fold both sides (right and left long sides) of the phyllo over the custard and drizzle the phyllo with more melted butter.
- Roll the pastry all the way up, keeping it a bit loose to allow room for the custard to cook during baking.
- Place on the prepared baking tray.
- Keep doing this until all of the phyllo and custard are used.
- Brush the tops with the remaining melted butter, and bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden.
- Pour the cool syrup over the hot pastries and set aside for the syrup to absorb –about an hour.
Place the tray of unbaked rolls in the freezer. Once the rolls are frozen, wrap the entire tray with plastic wrap or put the rolls in a freezer-safe bag. They will keep fresh in the freezer for up to 2 months. When you’re ready, bake them from frozen in a preheated 350 °F oven for about 45 minutes or until golden.
First things first… you may have custard left after making the rolls. Enjoy it sprinkled with some cinnamon. It’s delicious! Then, transfer the rolls to a serving platter and garnish them with extra ground pistachios. As always, hot Greek coffee goes with any sweet dessert. Kali Orexi!
- 1 pound (#4) phyllo pastry, thawed and at room temperature
- 1/2 pound unsalted butter, melted
- ground pistachios for filling and garnish
for the syrup:
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 cup honey
- juice of an orange
- 1 tablespoon rosewater
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
for the custard:
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup fine semolina flour
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 whole eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 °F, 180 °C.
Make the Syrup: Combine the sugar, water, and orange juice in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir the mixture and as soon as the sugar melts remove the pan from the heat. Add the honey, rosewater, and vanilla extract. Mix together and set aside to cool completely.
Make the Custard: Pour the milk into a saucepan and add the salt and half of the sugar. Cook over medium-low heat until scalding hot.
In the meantime, combine the eggs, semolina, cornstarch, and the remaining sugar in a mixing bowl. Whisk together until smooth.
Add the scalding hot milk to the egg mixture and whisk together. Add everything bak into the pan and cook until thickened. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla extract.
Assemble the Pastries:
Notes on working with phyllo pastry:
Thaw the phyllo pastry in the refrigerator at least 1 day before using it.
Allow the pastry to sit out (in its packaging) at room temperature at least 1 hour before using it.
Take the pastry out of plastic packaging at the time of use (not before) or it will dry out and crumble.
To keep the pastry from drying out while working with it, place a dry kitchen towel over it and then a slightly damp kitchen towel over that.
Line a baking tray with parchment paper and set aside.
Take one sheet of phyllo, drizzle some melted butter over top. Fold it in half lengthwise. Place a small scoop (using a small ice cream scoop), about 1-1 and ½ tablespoons of custard at the bottom of the pastry, keeping it centered. Top with a tablespoon-full of ground pistachios.
Fold over both sides (right and left long sides) of pastry over the cream.
Drizzle with some more melted butter.
Roll the pastry all the way up keeping it a bit loose to allow room for the custard to cook during baking. Place on the prepared baking tray.
Keep doing this until all of the phyllo and custard are finished.
Some custard may remain. Enjoy it sprinkled with some cinnamon. It’s delicious!
Brush the tops with the remaining melted butter.
Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden.
Pour the cool syrup over the hot pastries and set aside for an hour so that the syrup is absorbed.
Transfer the pastries to a serving platter and garnish with the ground pistachios. Serve with Greek coffee. Kali Orexi!
Freezer Instructions: Place the tray of unbaked rolls in the freezer and once they are frozen, wrap the tray with plastic wrap. They will keep fresh in the freezer for up to 2 months. Bake them in a preheated 350 °F oven for about 45 minutes or until golden. No need to thaw them before baking.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Traditional Cretan Aprons (heavier fabric)
KitchenAid KSM150PSAQ Artisan Series 5-Qt. Stand Mixer with Pouring Shield - Aqua Sky
Nordic Ware Natural Aluminum Commercial Baker's Quarter Sheet, 2-Pack
Isaac Mizrahi 6 qt Cast Iron Dutch Oven with Lid - Red
Callebaut Belgian Dark Couverture Chocolate Semisweet Callets, 54.5% - 5.5 Lbs
365 by Whole Foods Market, Tahini Organic, 16 Ounce
Cake Board Circle 9", Count of 25