Greek Custard Pie
1 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup honey
6 whl cloves
4 cups whole milk
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup fine semolina flour
1 tablespoon packed grated orange zest
2 teaspoons vanilla
5 eggs, beaten
1 (1 lb) package frozen phyllo pastry sheets (about 24 sheets), thawed
1 egg, beaten to blend, for glaze
This is a special dessert - something to share with company, after an uncomplicated dinner of grilled lamb and a Greek salad. The rich orange custard is layered between flaky phyllo, then drizzled with honey syrup. It's not difficult to make, but does take time. Make the syrup and filling the day before and refrigerate. Bring both to room temperature before you proceed with the recipe.
To make syrup: Combine water, 1 cup sugar, honey, cinnamon sticks and whole cloves in a heavy, medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Increase heat to high and boil until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Cool completely. (Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 13-by-9 inch glass baking dish. Unfold entire package of stacked phyllo sheets on work surface. Cut phyllo stack into 13-by-9 inch rectangle. Cover phyllo stack with sheet of plastic wrap, then damp kitchen towel to prevent drying. Transfer 1 phyllo sheet to prepared baking dish. Brush phyllo sheet with some melted butter. Place second phyllo sheet atop first sheet in dish; brush with butter.
Repeat with 10 more phyllo sheets and butter. Spread custard evenly over stacked phyllo. Brush 1 phyllo sheet with butter, then place atop custard in dish, buttered side up; repeat buttering and stacking of remaining phyllo sheets. Brush egg glaze over phyllo. Cut 6 top phyllo layers into 2 1/2 inch-wide diamonds or squares.
Bake pie until phyllo is deep golden and custard is set, about 55 minutes.
Note: Defrost frozen packaged phyllo overnight in the refrigerator.