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GALAKTOBOUREKO custard filled Fillo on a white plate
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5 from 2 votes

Galaktoboureko or Kahi (Buttery Fillo Dough with Custard Filling)

A flaky International dessert of fillo dough, filled with a creamy custard filling.
Prep Time40 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr 25 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Assyrian, Greek, Middle Eastern
Servings: 24 people
Calories: 223kcal



  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • teaspoon salt
  • cup sugar
  • cup semolina
  • 1 tsp. rose water
  • 2 T unsalted butter

Other Ingredients:

  • ½ cup butter (8 Tablespoons)
  • 1 package fillo dough
  • ¼ cup toasted and ground almonds or pistachios (optional)


  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 5 cardamom pods
  • 1 teaspoon rose water
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice



  • Whisk together the first seven filling ingredients over low to medium heat.
  • Continue whisking for approximately 5 minutes until the custard mixture is thick and bubbly. Turn off the stove, and stir in the butter until melted.
  • Place in the refrigerator to cool.


  • Next, stir all the syrup ingredients over medium heat until boiling.
  • Turn the heat down to low, and continue to simmer for approximately 25 minutes. Remove cardamom pods and allow to cool.

Preheat oven to 400°F


    • Microwave ½ cut of butter until melted (approximately 1 minute.) Brush a 9"x13" ceramic dish with the melted butter. 
    • Unroll fillo dough, lay flat on a cookie sheet, and cover with a washcloth to prevent it from drying out. ​
    • Place one sheet of dough into the pan, and brush with melted butter.
    • Fold fillo dough as necessary in order to make it fit in the pan.
    • Gently brush each layer with the melted butter. Continue to do this until you have used up half of the sheets.
    • Using a rubber spatula, spread the cooled custard over the fillo sheets.
    • Cover with the sheets, buttering each as you go.
    • Slice into squares, or diamonds, and pour any remaining butter over the top.
    • Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
    • Slowly pour syrup all over the pastry, making sure to distribute evenly. Sprinkle nuts on top, if using. Allow to cool before slicing, and don't forget to share it with your friends!


    Fillo dough can usually be found in the freezer section of most grocery stores. Make sure you defrost it for a few hours before using it.​
    Fillo dough comes in different sizes. If you find the sheets are too large for the 9" x 13" pan, just slice the sheets in half so that they fit in the pan.


    Calories: 223kcal | Carbohydrates: 33.5g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 8g | Sodium: 155mg | Fiber: 1g