Greek Custard Pie

The first time I had Greek Custard Pie was when we were living in the suburbs.  Our best friends up there are Greek on one side of the family.  His mother is a fantastic cook.  She had left a pie at their house and I was happy to have a piece.  Tasting that custard was an incredible eye opener.  It was one of those desserts where every bite is worth the millions of calories you are consuming. 

I attempted to make a custard pie this weekend.  It was good but not as good as hers.  I know what I did wrong and what I would do next time.  I probably overcooked the pie so the custard got too thick.  It is better a little gooey.  Also, I used a very intense honey that we had brought back from Italy.  A lighter honey would have been better. 

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup honey
2 cinnamon sticks
6 whole cloves

Combine all these ingredients, bring to simmer to dissolve sugar.  Then increase heat to boil for about 5 minutes or until it get thick.  Then set aside to cool


4 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup semolina flour
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1 T. grated orange peel
2 t. vanilla extract
5 large eggs, beaten
1 pound phyllo dough, thawed
3/4 cup melted butter
1 egg beaten (for glaze)

Combine milk and sugar in a heavy large saucepan.  Bring to simmer stirring until sugar dissolves.  Then gradually whisk in the semolina flour, whisking constantly until mixture gets thick.  About 2 minutes.  Then add 1/2 stick of unsalted butter and whisk until butter is melted and the mixture is smooth.  Remove from heat.  Whisk in orange peel and vanilla.  Cool to room temperature.  I took it out of the saucepan and into a metal bowl to cool.  When room temperature, whisk in the 5 eggs.

Preheat oven to 350.  Butter a 13x9x9 baking dish.  Unfold the phyllo sheets.  Cut them into a 13 x 9 rectangle.  Cover with a damp kitchen towel from drying up.  Put one sheet of phyllo in the bottom of the baking dish and brush with the melted butter.  Do this again 10 times.

Pour the custard over this and spread evenly.  Place another piece of phyllo dough over that, brush with melted butter and continue repeating this about 8 times.  Then take 6 pieces of phyllo dough and cut them into diamonds of squares ( about 2 1/2 inches each).  Then lay this on top and really butter it up.

Bake the pie until the top is golden.  I would only bake it for about 45 minutes.  I baked it 55 minutes and I think that was a mistake.  Once the dish is done, pour the simple syrup over it immediately and slowly allowing the syrup to be soaked up in the custard.

Serve at room temperature.  I am most definitely making this again looking for perfection here.