Honeyed Greek Fillo Custard Pies

Cook time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 4 individual pies

Ingredients

For the fillo custard
2 cups milk
¼ cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
¼ cup fine semolina
1 tbsp unsalted butter
3 eggs, lightly beaten
grated zest of 1 lemon
7 sheets fillo pastry
125g butter, melted

Honey syrup
¾ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup honey
2 tbsp lemon juice

Thyme sprigs, to decorate

Honeyed Greek Fillo Custard Pies

Method

Preheat oven 170C.

First make the custard. Place 1 cup milk, sugar and vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat,  and bring to a very gentle simmer. Whisk in semolina in a slow, steady stream and cook, whisking continuously for 5-8 minutes or until slightly thickened. Stir in 1 tablespoon of butter until well combined, remove from heat and cover surface closely with plastic wrap so it doesn’t form a skin. Set aside 15 minutes, until slightly cooled but still warm.

In a bowl, whisk remaining milk with eggs, and lemon zest, then pour into the saucepan and semolina mixture, and whisk 3-5 minutes off the heat.

Grease four cups of a straight-sided 7.5 x 5cm muffin or dessert pan with melted butter using a pastry brush. On a flat and clean work surface, lay down one sheet of fillo pastry and lightly brush with melted butter. Place a slightly damp towel on the remaining unbuttered fillo as you work, to stop it from drying out. Lay another sheet of pastry on top, brush with butter and repeat with 5 more sheets (to total 7 sheets). Divide the rectangular sheets into four with a knife, cutting in half lengthways and then crossways. Lay the fillo pieces in the cake pan so the ends hang out over the edge of the pan. Press the fillo into the pan so it fits snuggly.

Whisk the custard mixture and pour into fillo base, so it comes ¾ of the way up the sides, then fold the excess fillo back over the custard, being careful not to let it submerge. Then lightly brush with butter. Bake 45-50 minutes, until golden brown and custard is set.

Meanwhile, to prepare the syrup, combine sugar, honey, lemon zest, lemon juice and 175ml water in a small saucepan and bring to a gentle boil over a medium heat, without stirring. Cook 5 minutes, until syrupy.

When pie is removed from oven, pour hot syrup over hot pastry immediately and let stand 1 hour, until absorbed. Decorate with thyme sprigs. Cut into wedges to serve.