I made this sweet when we came back from the hospital. I just wanted something sweet to elevate my mood. And this one did exactly that!
Galaktoboureko is basically a sweet that consists of cream made with semolina and phylo, all of them swimming in syrup. I decided to tweak the all-time classic Greek recipe and I infused Mastic liquor in the cream and syrup and I used Kataifi phylo instead of the common phylo.
Well, the result was a very flavorful cream and the Kataifi phylo made it far more interesting than the usual one.
I am not sure if you can find Mastic where you live, but if you can, please use it. You cannot believe the aroma these tears extract once they are infused in the sweet.
Here is some information I found in Wikipedia regarding Mastic:
Mastic (Greek: Μαστίχα) is a resin obtained from the mastic tree (Pistacia lentiscus). In pharmacies and Nature shops it is called “Arabic gum” (not to be confused with gum Arabic) and “Yemen gum”. In Greece it is known as the “tears of Chios,” being traditionally produced on that Greek island, and, like other natural resins is produced in “tears” or droplets. Originally liquid, it is sun-dried into drops of hard brittle translucent resin. When chewed, the resin softens and becomes a bright white and opaque gum. The flavor is bitter at first, but after chewing releases a refreshing, slightly piney or cedar flavor.
The word mastic derives from the Greek verb μαστιχειν “to gnash the teeth”, which is the source of the English word masticate.  The word mastic is a synonym for gum in many languages.
Mastic has been used as a medicine since antiquity and is still used in traditional folk medicine of the Middle East. In Ancient Greece, it was given as a remedy for snakebite, and in India and Persia was used to fill dental cavities. The first century Greek physician Pedanius Dioscorides mentions the healing properties of mastic in his book De Materia Medica. Hippocrates wrote that the mastic is good for prevention of digestive problems and colds and Galenus suggested mastic was useful for bronchitis and improving the condition of the blood. For more everyday applications, mastic was highly valued in medieval times by sultans’ harems, as a breath freshener and tooth whitener.
Mastic contains antioxidants, and also has antibacterial and antifungal properties. A Nottingham University study published in the New England Journal of Medicine claims that mastic can cure peptic ulcers by killing Helicobacter pylori bacteria. Other studies have indicated mastic has only a modest ability to eliminate H. pylori, but also suggested that refining mastic by removing the polymer poly-β-myrcene may make the active components, in particular isomasticadienolic acid more available and effective. Mastic may also have some value in preventing tooth decay and gingevitis as chewing mastic reduces oral bacteria levels.
Regular consumption of mastic has been proven to absorb cholesterol, thus easing high blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart attacks. Mastic oil is widely used in the preparation of ointments for skin disorders and afflictions. It is also used in the manufacture of adhesive bandages
So here is the recipe. I found it on the kataifi phylo package, but as always I’ve made some changes necessary to fit my taste!
Mastic Scented Galaktoboureko with Kataifi Phylo
1 package kataifi phylo about 400gr. to 500 gr./ 14 oz. to 17 oz.
1 cup melted margarine for the kataifi phylo (the original recipe used butter but for cholesterol reasons I use margarine. Feel free to use butter if you have no such problem)
1 cup fine semolina
1 cup sugar
1 lit/34 fl oz. and 1 cup milk
4 tbsp margarine (again you can use butter)
4 egg yolks
2 shots of mastic liquor or 3 gr. of mastic drops crushed in the blender
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the syrup
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1 cinnamon stick
1 shot mastic liquor
In a pot pour the milk and the sugar and stir. When the sugar is dissolved throw the semolina and continue to stir.
Throw the egg yolks, the margarine, the vanilla extract and the one shot of mastic liquor. Continue to stir until the cream thickens.
Put aside to cool. Just before you spread it on top of the kataifi phylo, pour the second mastic liquor shot and stir to combine.
Open the kataifi package and start to separate the kataifi hair so as to become fluffy.
Take a quadrate pan 40cm X 30cm / 16 inches X 12 inches and brush it with margarine. Spread half of the kataifi phylo. Pour ½ cup of margarine and brush the kataifi phylo.
Spread the cream evenly.
Spread the rest of the kataifi phylo on top, pour the rest of the margarine and spread it evenly.
Bake in a preheated oven at 180° C/350° F for about 45 minutes or until it is golden brown on top.
Take out of the oven and let it cool.
For the syrup
In a pot put the water and the sugar.
In medium high heat let it boil for 7 to 8 minutes and then remove it from fire.
Pour the mastic liquor and with a ladle pour it evenly on top of the Galaktoboureko.
It is ready to be served!
I am sending this to Full Plate Thursday hosted by Miz Helen!