It’s National Pi day and what better way to celebrate. Okay wrong kind of pie but I’m guessing this will be more fun! So I have to admit that I did a bit of a double take when I first saw the recipe and looked at the ingredients. Cream of wheat? Isn’t that just porridge? So this is an porridge and phyllo pie? Eww … But never having had this combination before, I was willing to give it a chance. Actually I didn’t have much of a choice given that the pie was part of a class I’m taking. However, it turns out that the cream of wheat helps to form the custard filling. If you’re wondering how the filling tastes, well it’s pretty good. So good in fact, that my lab partner ate ALL of the leftover filling! I’m not complaining – that makes it easier to clean up.
And with the finished product, you get the flaky, buttery crunch of phyllo pastry together the creaminess richness of a sweet custard. Add to that a cinnamon sugar glaze made with Grand Marnier! It makes it pretty impressive and hard to resist.
Although the recipe we were given didn’t have a name, I believe this is similar to a pastry I’ve eaten in many Greek restaurants called Galaktoboureko.
If you’ve never worked with phyllo pastry before, here are some tips:
- Allow the pastry to fully defrost in your refrigerator overnight.
- Place the phyllo underneath a piece of parchment paper to prevent it from sticking to your work surface.
- When applying the butter, brush the phyllo gently and use a pastry brush (not a silicone brush).
What are some interesting or odd combinations of food that you’ve been skeptical of at first but turned out liking?
Custard filled phyllo pie
2 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cream of wheat
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
10 sheets of phyllo
1/4 cup melted butter
3/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup water
1 cinnamon stick
zest from an orange
zest from a lemon
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier
1. Preheat oven to 400F (200C).
2. Add milk, butter and sugar to a pot and bring to a boil on medium heat. Once the mixture comes to a boil, slowly add cream of wheat in a steady stream while constantly whisking. Continue to whisk until the mixture thickens and comes back to a boil, about 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and transfer to a large bowl.
3. To the cream of wheat mixture, add in vanilla and orange juice and stir.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs together. Slowly temper the eggs into the filling.
5. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the custard mixture and allow to cool. The plastic wrap will prevent a skin from forming on the custard.
4. Melt the 1/4 cup of butter.
5. Butter a pie plate and set it aside.
6. Place the first piece of phyllo dough onto a piece of parchment paper and gently brush with butter. Make sure to cover the remain sheets of phyllo with a damp cloth.
7. Lay the next piece of phyllo on diagonally top of the already buttered piece of phyllo and brush it with butter. Continue layering and buttering phyllo in that pattern until five pieces have been completed. Place the five sheets onto the buttered pie plate. The sheets may need to be trimmed slightly with a pair of scissors or sharp knife if the overhang is too long.
8. Layer and butter another five pieces of phyllo dough in an offset manner – these pieces will be the top of the pie.
9. Put the filling into the pie tin and fill until 2/3 full.
10. Place the final layer of phyllo dough onto of the pie and trim as needed if the layer is too long. The overhang pieces from the top and bottom layers can be pressed and pinched together to create a flower like pattern.
11. Place in the oven and bake at 400F for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 325F (160C) and bake for another 30 minutes or until pastry is golden. Cool for 10 minutes.
12. To make the syrup, place the sugar, water, cinnamon stick, cloves, orange zest and lemon zest into a pot and bring to a boil. Brush down the sides of the a pot with a pastry brush that’s been dipped in water if needed. Simmer for approximately 8 minutes or until the mixture forms a syrup. Remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes before adding Grand Marnier.
13. Using a strainer, pour half of the hot syrup over the pie, allowing the syrup to absorb. Then strain the rest of the syrup over. Allow the pie to cool completely. Dust with icing sugar before serving.
(Source: George Brown Baking Arts)