The ultimate custard pie
Citrussy, cinnamon-scented custard surrounded by delicate pastry – this Greek specialty is as good as its promise.
Some time ago I wrote about spanikopita and made mention of the joys of galaktoboureko, the sweet, orange-scented, custard-filled equivalent, promising to write about it at some point. Well, I never forget a promise and, as citrus is everywhere at the moment, here it is.
The best way to eat it? Chilled and for breakfast, as the Greeks do, which is perfectly acceptable and not at all gluttonous. You’re welcome.
Prep time: 25 mins Cook time: 40 mins Serves: 6-8
100g butter, melted
3 eggs, separated 130g brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Zest of 1 lemon
1 litre milk, warmed
1 x 375g packet filo pastry
450g brown sugar 250ml water
2 sticks of cinnamon 2 oranges
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Use a little of the butter to well grease a 20cm collapsible cake tin.
Whisk together the egg yolks, brown sugar, vanilla and lemon. Gradually whisk in the semolina and then the warmed milk, and place over a moderately low heat, stirring, for about 10 minutes, until you have a thick custard. Allow to cool.
Brush about 6 or so layers of filo pastry with butter and layer in the tin, spreading them around so that you have an even overlap over the sides to fold back over. Don’t be perturbed if a sheet tears, just add another layer.
Whisk the egg whites to stiff-ish peaks and fold into the cooled custard in two batches. Pour into the pastry case and smooth off. Add several more layers of filo, brushing them with butter as you go, before folding the overlap over the top. Scrunch the pastry up on the top for a bit of visual effect, and drizzle over any remaining butter. Pop into the preheated oven and bake for about 40 minutes, until the custard is set – if it seems too wobbly, give it another 10 minutes or so. Cover the top with tin foil to stop the pastry from going too brown.
As the tart cooks, make the syrup. Combine the brown sugar, water, cinnamon sticks and the zest from the oranges in a small saucepan over a moderate heat, and bring to a slow simmer. Peel and slice the oranges and add to the mix. Continue to cook slowly until it has reduced by at least a third, and you have a thick, fragrant sauce.
Once you get the tart out of the oven, pour two-thirds of this syrup over the top while it is still hot, and then allow to cool. Serve either chilled or at room temperature, with more of that lovely syrup on the side.