Laz Böreği in Turkish or Galaktoboureko in Greek is a dessert made with custard and filo. Unlike Napoleons or Mille-Feuille, the custard is baked in the pastry. This dessert is a specialty in the region of Rize Turkey off the coast of the Black Sea where my father-in-laws family originates from. It has a funny name when you think about it, burek is a savoury dish and this is a dessert! I wonder how it got its name!
In Albania, my grandmother said that people would make baklava with a custard filling using milk and trahana because the walnuts were expensive back when she was a young girl. She doesn’t remember though, if it had a particular name as she left Albania when she was 16 years old.
My grandma actually made baklava with homemade filo dough, could you just imagine that! Making super thin layers of dough like that, she was a really hard working lady, and I can only imagine how delicious it was.
Now back to the recipe, they’re some minor differences between recipes but for the most part its the same idea, for example: some use semolina, others rice flour, cornstarch or regular flour. Some add 6 eggs where as others only add 3. Some may add rose water, lemon or orange blossom to add flavour or leave it plain as is; its all your preference.
As for the sugar, you can add less or more. Some add up to 2 cups but, I found, for my preference, that 1 and 3/4 cups was just perfect. I did try 1 and 1/2 though, it just wasn’t enough for me. When you make it, first add a little and taste, add more to liking keeping in mind that you will be pouring syrup over it in the end.
I personally don’t like rose water- I do love the smell of it and I don’t mind it in Sherbet, a traditional drink but, I do not like it in desserts.
I only added 3 eggs and my custard turned out great! I used both semolina and rice flour and I didn’t use a whole cup of butter as most recipes ask for that much. The pan I used is a 11 x 15 pan and the filo fit perfectly! If you have that size pan, then great, if its 13 x 9, all you have to do is fold the edges to fit the pan.
What you will need:
- 1 pkg filo thawed
- 6 cups milk
- 2/3 cup semolina
- 5 tbsp rice flour
- 3 eggs
- 1 and 3/4 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter (melted)
- 1 and 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 cup water + 2 tbsp
- squeeze of lemon juice
Before you start on making the custard, make the syrup. First, combine the water and sugar in a 2 qt pot, cook on medium heat, bring to a boil and continue to boil on low heat for 5 minutes. Squeeze half a lemon, the juice will prevent the syrup from crystallization. Remove from heat, allow to cool to room temperature.
Measure the semolina and add in the rice flour should measure to one full cup.
In a large pot, add the milk, sugar, semolina and rice flour, stir with whisk and turn on the heat. Cook on low to medium heat constantly stirring, so that the custard does not clump up and it doesn’t burn on the bottom of pot.
Crack eggs in measuring cup, set aside.
Keep stirring with whisk, when milk gets hot add in the eggs whisking in quickly one at a time. Keep whisking until custard thickens; once its starts to bubble up it will start to thicken. Once thickened, remove from heat.
Open the package of filo and gently open, if some of the sheets are torn not to worry its fine.
Grease pan and start to layer the filo, using half of the filo for the bottom and the other half for the top, approx 8 sheets for both bottom and top. Butter with a pastry brush each layer of filo. When you finish layering the bottom part, spread the custard. Start layering with the filo sheets and buttering each layer. With a sharp knife, cut or score the top layer of filo making squares or diamonds. Try not to pierce through the the custard and bottom, otherwise it will make a mess when baking. Butter the last layer of filo after cutting.
Bake at 375 till golden takes about 30 to 35 minutes to bake.
Pour cooled syrup over the hot out of the oven laz boregi and set aside to allow time for the syrup to be absorbed; I waited an hour. Cut through and serve while warm is best. The longer it rest, the firmer the custard gets.