¼ cup sugar
1 ¾ cups whole Milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup semolina (fine)
¼ cup butter cut into cubes
Zest from one lemon
Butter for the pan
½ cup melted butter
8 phyllo pastry sheets, thawed, covered with damp towel
Icing sugar and/or cinnamon for dusting
Servings: 9 pieces
Preperation: 20 Minutes
Total Time: 60 Minutes
Kitchen Equipment: 8 x 8 square pan
- In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs & sugar until foamy, about 3-4 minutes.
- In a medium pot over medium heat add the milk and vanilla extract, whisk and then heat until hot to the touch, about 4-5 minutes (do not boil). Remove from heat.
- Slowly pour the hot milk into the egg-sugar mixture, whisking constantly (in this step you are tempering the eggs so they do not scramble when added back to the hot pan).
- Once the milk and eggs have been whisked together, pour the mixture back into the pot slowly and set back on the oven on medium-low heat. Cook, whisking fairly constantly for about 2-3 minutes until the sugar has dissolved. Then, slowly add in the semolina, a little bit at a time, whisking after each addition. Continue to whisk constantly until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, whisk in the salt and cubes of butter to fully combine and then whisk in the lemon zest. Set aside to cool while you make the phyllo crust *NOTE: whisk or stir the custard every few minutes to avoid a custard skin forming on top*
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Line the 8x8 pan with overhanging strips of parchment paper (so you can easily remove the dessert) and generously grease with butter.
- Keep the defrosted phyllo sheets (covered with a damp towel) beside the 8x8 pan along with ½ cup melted butter and a pastry brush or spoon - now you’re ready to assemble.
- Lay out one phyllo sheet in the baking pan, pushing down gently to edges, allowing the excess phyllo to hang over the edges of the pan. Brush the layer with melted butter. Then, add another phyllo sheet on top and brush or drizzle with melted butter again. Repeat until you’ve used 5 phyllo sheets.
- Pour the custard into the baking dish and gently fold the overhanging phyllo over the custard layer (don’t worry if there’s some custard still showing). Brush or drizzle that phyllo layer with butter. Add 3 more layers of phyllo sheets, scrunched up with your hands so that it fits into the 8x8 pan, brushing each layer with butter. Make sure to drizzle or brush the final top layer with any remaining melted butter.
- Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes, until golden brown and fragrant.
- Once done baking, allow to cool for 10 minutes before using the overhanging parchment paper to remove it from the pan onto a cutting board.
- After cooling for 10 minutes, sprinkle it with icing sugar and/or cinnamon and enjoy it warm!
- While this dessert is best enjoyed the day it’s made, you can store it in the refrigerator once fully cooled, in an airtight container for 2 days. Reheat slices in the oven on a baking sheet at 350F until warmed through.