Pies 1: Custard-Filled Phyllo Pie

This is the last compulsory course I need for the Bakery Arts certificate, and I have been avoiding it, not because of the course content though. There is a certain instructor who usually teaches it and I didn't want to have another class with her, so I've postponed taking Art of Pies. Since she no longer teaches at George Brown, I felt it was safe to enroll. I'm very happy with the current instructor, Chef M, a witty guy with a French accent. To save time, we immediately began a demo and saved the course overview for when we waited for the ovens to bake our pies.

Custard-Filled Phyllo Pie with Orange GlazeMy partner and I started by making the semolina custard. I've made a similar dessert before, so I knew what the filling would taste like. Here, we flavoured it with a bit of orange juice. It did not thicken very much on the stove, but did so as it cooled. Next, we prepared the orange syrup, a mixture of sugar, water, cinnamon, cloves and Grand Marnier. I must have whisked the mixture on the stove too much, because it began to crystallize as it cooled. The assistant was able to rescue it by adding more water and gently heating it, but it was still thinner than everyone else's. Instead of grating the orange and lemon zests, Chef took thin strips off the citrus fruit with the sharp round hole from a zester. This way, he could use the candied peel (like a confit) as a garnish.

For the “crust”, we placed buttered sheets of phyllo in a pie plate, then trimmed the edges to fit. After pouring the hot custard in, we covered it with more phyllo, and trimmed and scored the top layers. Chef baked them in the oven while we talked about the upcoming weeks. Several of the recipes are new to the course, and I have a good idea what to expect, thanks to Ivonne's experiences.

When the pies were done, we poured syrup slowly over the top and let it absorb. Pre-scoring the slices made it easier to cut nice individual portions. The pie was well-received at work. I'm guessing most people don't eat cream of wheat for breakfast, but when you make a custard out of it and place it in a crispy shell with a boozy syrup, it sure has its fans.

Leave a comment