Greek-Style Creamy Custard Phyllo Pie

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London came and went. Even before I could digest it, reminisce in the warm memories and allow for the thoughts and the experience to settle in, I was packing again and heading for the slopes in southern Bavaria.

What a difference a weekend makes!


One weekend I was in an invigorating and pulsating city, full of life and power, the next I was standing on a quiet snow covered slope, the rich green confers, thick and abundant frosted with the white powder. London enlivened me, making me feel confident and inspired. Here, on this slope I was surrounded by nature’s beauty and the postcard perfection of the scenery around me should have made me feel free and liberated. Yet, as I looked down at my feet I was restrained by big heavy ski shoes and skis.

Just lugging my gear to the bottom of the slope was enough and I was ready to hit the spa for a bit of relaxation. Looking over to the lifts I felt intimidated and yearned for the whirlpool we left back at the hotel instead. I am not much of a skier. I ski, but not with a passion some of my friends have for this sport. I even enjoy it but I lack the drive to really want to enthusiastically keep at it.

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I managed the first hurdle without making too much of a fool of myself and glided to the top of the slope on the tow lift. I had horror visions of trapping myself and being dragged halfway up the slope on my elbows and knees. Luckily, some other lady fell behind me and as all eyes were focused on her I was able to quickly adjust myself to look like I was born to ski. Phew!

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Once on top of the slope the next challenge was getting back down and as my husband instructed and tried to motivate me, my head was filled with strange static making it hard to understand anything that was being said. All I could view was the very long, slightly steep way back down. I wish I could click my red skis and find myself lounging by the pool.

Soeren beamed at me and lunged forward - he shot down that hill fearlessly. I wish I was 10 years old again. With 10 fear does not exist - it seems. As a 40 year old mother, I was just brimming with fear. Fear for my son’s life and fear for my own life. Double whammy!
As I saw my husband slide elegantly past me, I hung my head, took a deep breath and ordered my brain to chant some mantra to take away the angst. My grip around the ski poles tightened, my eyes quickly outlining the easiest route, I hesitantly thrusted myself forward, the chanting in my head getting louder, and off I went.

The adrenaline pumped through me and I felt like a million dollars. I had survived the first run. Whether I looked good while I came down that hill is another question. I made my long S’s just like the instructor had taught me, imagining my belly was the light of a lighthouse and turning it left or right accordingly, then bringing my skis around and pulling my legs parallel to each other. The instructor also told me to think about everything else but skiing. That confused me! I was not exactly sure how not to think about skiing as I had to remind myself of each step I took. I chanted and as I was coming down the slope I realized the chanting in actual fact was Hindi songs. They started off in my head, as I picked up pace down the hill so did the chanting, becoming mumbles and finally by the time I got to the bottom I was singing fairly loudly.

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We spent the first couple of days skiing in lovely weather and with each run I felt more comfortable. I still was not going to become a ski fanatic but at least I was coming down the slopes with more confidence. On the last day, I took one last look down the slope. It was cold and the icy wind blew snow into my face stinging my skin. The weather had turned and I was tired. I had decided to do my last run and head to the hotel’s sauna. I earned it!

Halfway down the slope I realized just how icy the slope was. That uneasiness I felt on the first day rose in the pit of my stomach again and as I turned my body to the left my skis hit a patch of ice and my legs decided to take a different route. I was unable to bring my skis together and as I tumbled my right ski got caught in the snow but my knee kept on twisting until I heard a hollow snap.

The snap was presumably my ACL tearing or the bone on the outer right knee cracking. I spent a larger part of last week getting scans and x-rays done and visiting my knee specialist. He happens to be one of the best in his field and Tom got both his knees done by him. So I am in good hands. I will be out for a while as my bone needs 4 weeks to heal in which I will be wearing a mobile brace. After this I will have the surgery to repair the ACL, which will need another 4-6 weeks to heal.

I limp around but am mobile and while I get frustrated at not being able to move fast enough, do things at my regular pace and dealing with the pain I am taking the advice of my friend Robin “slow down, breathe and heal”.

Good advice! I might have a hard time with the slow down part though.   Greek_Fillo_Custard_Pasrty-0023-WM

This is a heavenly dessert that will force the fastest of us to take a moment to slow down and linger on the flavors. There is flakey phyllo pastry, there is luscious and smooth custard all infused with warming spices of cardamom, cinnamon and vanilla and finally the elegance of orange bring it all together. This custard pie is based on the divine Greek or Maltese Galaktoboureko, a semolina-based custard dessert layered with phyllo pastry that will make you want to sink yourself into. I based this recipe on Peter’s Galaktoboureko - a post that has stuck to my mind from the first time I read it. Ruffles of phyllo pastry are drenched in the custard and then gently baked to give a crunchy and sublime dessert.  The perfect dessert for your Easter meal!

Recipe: Greek-Style Creamy Custard Phyllo Pie

Printable version of recipe here

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Prep Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Serves: 8

Ingredients:

  • 10 sheets phyllo pastry
  • 60g butter, melted
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 4 cardamom pods, slightly crushed
  • 1 vanilla bean, split in the centre with the seeds scraped out
  • 350 ml milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 95g sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 150g pistachios, coarsely chopped

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C. Grease and line a 20 cm cake pan with baking paper.
  2. Spread out the sheets of phyllo pastry and cover them with a damp cloth to keep them from drying. Take on of the sheets and spread smoothly on the countertop, then brush generously with butter. Coil the sides of the pastry together in a rosette. Place the rosette in the middle of the cake pan and continue with the remaining phyllo pastry in the same way, placing them around the one in the center.
  3. Generously brush the tops of each pastry rosette with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and cardamom. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes.
  4. In the meantime make the custard by placing the milk, cinnamon stick, cardamom pods and the vanilla bean and seeds in a saucepan and bringing it to a simmer over medium heat.
  5. Place the eggs and sugar in a bowl and whisk until thick. Gradually pour the warm milk over the custard mixture, whisking to well to temper the mixture to make sure the eggs do not curdle.
  6. Remove the cake pan from the oven and pour the custard over the top of the pastry and sprinkle with the orange zest. Place the pan back in the oven and bake for another 30 minutes until the custard has set.
  7. Take the cake pan out of the oven and drizzle the pastry with honey while still hot and sprinkle with pistachios.
  8. This tastes great while still warm and fresh on the same day. After that the phyllo pastry ends to get a bit soggy and the custard loses it’s creamy texture. Serve with a thick vanilla sauce. 


Verdict

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In all this hustle I totally forgot to raise my glass with you all … last week my blog turned 7! Yes I’ve been around here doing this for the past 7 years and I cannot believe the crazy path What’s For Lunch, Honey? has taken me on. It’s been all very positive and mostly a lot of fun. Blogging has come such a long way since then, it’s amazing how many new and awesome blogs I discover on a weekly basis. I’d like to say a huge thanks to you … my readers and friends who have supported me and are a part of this space, some have been around from the early days! I hope you all enjoy this space as much as enjoy filling it with my words and images.

Cin cin!

Weimar2013WorkshopBadge-SIDEBAR-BLACK
Did you miss the London Workshop? I’ll be hosting another styling and photography workshop in March here in Weimar. A package deal that includes tuition, accommodation, meals and a whole lot more - not to mention connecting with like-minded people and talking, taking and inhaling food, photography and styling for 2 days.

Check out the Weimar workshop details!

I have not had too much time to surf my favorite blogs and webistes lately. But I am thinking this will change soon as I spend more time resting the knee. I do have a few favorites this week and wanted to share them with you. Hope you enjoy browsing through them.

You might like these creamy custard ideas from WFLH:

Bostini Cream Pie 01a by MeetaK Chai Latte Cream (01) by MeetaK Chocolate Raspberry Creme Caramel (01) by MeetaK
Bostini Cream Pie Chai Latte Cream Crème Caramel - Chocolate and Raspberry


All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2012 Meeta Khurana Wolff unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

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55 comments:

  1. A beautiful treat! This phyllo pie must taste extremely good. Mmmmhhh!

    Take care and all the best with your knee.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  2. Stunning, stunning shots Meeta! Love them all, and pinning them all :) Wish I could taste now!

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    1. Thanks so much! Glad you like the images. It's an easy dessert to make and very satisfying!

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  3. This is a really easy recipe, will try it out for my next potluck party.

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    1. It is and I am sure it will be a stunner. Let me know how it went.

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  4. O boy that does sound like a rather painful accident... I am a rather bad skier myself and I have kind of given up on the whole thing all together. While I love the snow, I feel a bit safer staying on my two feet instead of gliding down a slippery slope.. I do hope your knee heals quickly and without too much trouble dear. And well... in the meantime that phyllo pie looks just absolutely gorgeous!

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    1. I think I will stay away from the sloes for a bit. But I have not lost the will. I am stubborn like that. LOL!

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  5. Aw Meeta, firstly Happy Blogiversary! Secondly, even slowed down you are a superworman with unearthly energy! Thirdly, this dessert is off the charts delicious, inventive, beautiful, tasty. Oh and fourthly, wonderful tale of slopes, fear and singing. Bless you as you heal my friend!

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    1. You are the best. Your comments always put a smile on my face. I feel like my wings have been clipped a bit but I am making the best of this situation!

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  6. That phyllo pie looks so amazingly good!

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  7. This looks absolutely amazing Meeta! What a wonderful and inventive interpretation of the galaktoboureko! Thank you for the shout out too!

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    1. Glad you liked it :o) I was keen to hear what you would say.

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  8. So sorry about your knee problem. Inspite of it, skiing sounds fantastic to me. :)

    Lovely lovely snaps, the pie looks absolutely amazing.

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    1. Skiing is fantastic but I guess I am not as passionate about it as others are. Glad you liked the pie!

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  9. Oh my gosh, 7 years! I have just passed my 1st birthday. I am so sorry about your knee. I did mine in a few years back and it's still coming right. The surgery will probably speed things up. Good luck.

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    1. Yes I guess I am what one would call a blog dinosaur!! Glad to hear things went OK with your knee.

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  10. Congratulations on 7 years - and trust you to be able to make an incredible dessert while on crutches! Mend soon

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    1. Thanks Sally. The dessert was before I had my injury. But I have baked cupcakes!

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  11. Gosh I am so sorry about your knee. That must have been scary! My kids were just getting into skiing and then we moved from New York. I've never been and it really does frighten me. Good luck with the healing.

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    1. I think that is the issue with us .. we are scared! If were were not I am thinking maybe we'd be better at it!

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  12. Hard luck, Meeta! I've had a few ski-related fractures over the years, and have always gone back to the slopes. You're lucky you're in Germany- the orthopaedic services are gold standard there. Don't be tempted to rush your recovery- follow your rehab advice to the letter. You want your knee for the long haul, after all. An injury often brings forced groundedness and reflective space. Embrace it and you won't believe the benefits.

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    1. Catherine! Thank you for your kind advice. I taking it easier and being reflective and coming up with more ideas that naturally wants to realize these ASAP! LOL!

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  13. Oh my! That looks and sounds amazing! Never seen anything quite like it, its a sort of hybrid between baklava and sticky buns. Wow

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    1. Yes I was inspired by the kanafeh baklava with this!

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  14. First, so sorry about your knee. I Hope your knee heals quickly. Now, that phyllo pie...I am drooling, seriously. I can't stop thinking about when I can go out and get some phyllo dough.

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    1. Hope you make it! Enjoy and let me know how it goes!

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  15. Oh no your poor knee! I hope it heals ASAP. I'm glad you at least got to experience a moment of the exhilarating part of skiing before your accident. I completely identify with not being able to love skiing - I think I'm too much of a control freak to let go and enjoy the speed!

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    1. I think that is where my problem lies too. I want to be in control and sliding down a icy snow slope does not help ...

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  16. Mend soon, dear Meeta!! I gave up skiing already a few years ago although I love snow... but more for nice walks :). Skiing was always too fast for me :o
    And the Phyllo Pie looks fantastic!! I wish you could send me a piece of it ;)

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    1. I think I will try skiing again maybe not too soon though!! I would love to have you over to make this for you!

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  17. ...and congrats to your 7th Blog Birthday!! Hugs Eva

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  18. o, my word, this looks beautiful and sounds delicious!

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  19. Looks fantastic but am wondering how hard it will be to make. I think I'll tackle it anyway.
    Thanks for the recipe. I'll let you know how it comes out.
    Thanks

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  20. Meeta! Thats so beautiful! i have never worked with phyllo pastry. Keen on trying this recipe.

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    1. This is an easy recipe and you should have no issues at all.

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  21. Happy seven years! My NINE YEAR (!) blogaversary is coming up in May - hard to believe... And sorry to hear about the ski fall - I had a similar fall in Austria in December 2011 but was lucky enough to get away with only a sprained lateral collateral ligament. It DID make me pay far more attention to the fit of my ski boots, the settings on my bindings, and working out the bugs in my ski technique - and the happy upshot of it is that it has made me a far better skiier. Was very pleased to return home last night from 6 days of hard skiing in France with no injuries (hurrah!) other than a spectacular bruise where a a *&^%$£"" French child skiied into me ;o) LOVE the pie - total decadence!

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    1. Some are good at it and some struggle with it. I definitely belong to the latter. But am not lamenting about not being the perfect skier and will probably give it another go when I heal. Glad to hear you had a great time in France and came back with no injuries.

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  22. This looks super tasty. Can't wait to try this soon.

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  23. Oh no hope you feel better Meeta. Can clearly see even a bad knee does not stop you for posting such fantastic recipes. I am drooling look at the picture. Lovely recipe :)

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    1. Luckily I have some saved on my hard drive ;o) Glad you liked it!

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  24. What a gorgeous, gorgeous phyllo pie this is! I'm still so sorry about your knee, but also glad to see it isn't stopping you from rocking your work:) And a possible TV career in the future I read?! That would be so cool, I'm totally gonna watch German TV if you're on it. Can't wait! Big hugs from Amsterdam, xoxo

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    1. AHH my TV career ;o) depends on the state of my knee. But I am taking it lightly and not stressing as I feel more comfortable behind the camera. Denise ... who knows maybe I might be in Amsterdam this year. Plotting and planning!

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  25. Take care of your knee...and do slow down and breathe and heal !! Lovely dessert there !

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  26. We are not skiers... never have been, never will be. Is the fear of falling a part of it? Your fall sounds terrible and I hope you are healing well and quickly! In time for May! This dessert, on the other hand, is stunningly perfect! Amazing and so pretty I want to make one just like it! I wonder if I could get it to look this pretty, though? But the filo and the creamy filling sound divine! XOXO

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  27. Looks delicious! Thank you for posting this recipe!

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  28. Yes I have a hard time with the slow down advice as well. Wishing you a fast and easy recovery and congrats on 7 years!

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  29. Wow, 7 yrs, CONGRATULATIONS. Blogging is so much work, I've realized now, you are doing such a great job. Thanks for being my inspiration and l will try out this recipe for sure..looks so fancy.
    take care of your health.

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  30. The Creamy Custard Pie looks delicious...I love cooking but seeing this yum pie, I can't wait anymore to make it and eat, wanna have it now! You are really great Meeta. Love your cooking :) Go on and innovate more stuffs like this and please share. Waiting for more!

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Thank you for visiting What's For Lunch, Honey? and taking time to browse through my recipes, listen to my ramblings and enjoy my photographs. I appreciate all your comments, feedback and input. I will answer your questions to my best knowledge and respond to your comments as soon as possible.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy your stay here and that I was able to make this an experience for your senses.

Hugs
Meeta