The ul­ti­mate cus­tard pie

Cit­russy, cin­na­mon-scented cus­tard sur­rounded by del­i­cate pas­try – this Greek spe­cialty is as good as its prom­ise.

Sunday Star-Times - Sunday Magazine - - FOOD WITH SAM MANNERING - Pho­tographs & Styling/ Sam Man­ner­ing

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.

GALAK­TO­BOUREKO

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

90g semolina

1 litre milk, warmed

1 x 375g packet filo pas­try

SYRUP

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.

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