If using vanilla essence add it at this stage. Return to a gentle heat for a further 2 to 3 minutes, stirring continuously, then withdraw from the heat.
While working with the pastry, stir the mixture occasionally to prevent a crust forming on top. Butter a roasting dish approximately 39 x 28 x 20 cm. Prepare the filo pastry and fill in exactly the same way as described in - Cheese Pie.
Bake in a preheated oven, 350F, for 45 minutes until pale golden.
Take out and cool for 10 minutes while you make the syrup. Dissolve the sugar in the water, add the aromatics and lemon juice and boil gently for 5 to 7 minutes until slightly thickened. Let the syrup stand for 5 minutes, then remove the aromatics and slowly pour all over the galaktoboureko.
Once the syrup has been absorbed, cut and serve. You may, if you like, replace the vanilla with cinnamon and nutmeg powder.
Galaktoboureko is at its best eaten fresh, preferably when it
is still warm, but is still good the next day. No need to keep it in a
refrigerator unless the weather is particularly hot.