If you happened to catch my Instagram stories earlier in April, you may have caught a glimpse of my trip to Greece. Let me tell you, Greece is one incredible country with some of the best foods I've ever had the pleasure of tasting. I usually come back from a trip, inspired to recreate 2 or 3 of my favorite dishes. Greece had so many incredible dishes that I've already recreated 4 and there's still more to try! I'm starting the series with this baklava pudding pie.
I combined the idea of a custard phyllo pastry and baklava to create the ultimate dessert. Layers of flaky phyllo are sprinkled with pistachios and pecans, baked with a custard filling, and topped with maple strawberries. It's absolutely divine if I do say so myself!
Baklava Pudding Pie
Baklava pudding pie
- ½ cup finely chopped pistachios (60 grams)
- ½ cup finely chopped pecans (60 grams)
- ¼ cup granulated sugar (50 grams)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 18 sheets phyllo dough
- ½ cup melted butter (227 grams)
- 1 cup milk (250 ml)
- 1 large egg
- 2 egg yolks
- ½ cup granulated sugar (100 grams)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- ½ cup maple syrup (125 ml)
- 1 tablespoon butter (14 grams)
- pinch of salt
- 1 lb strawberries hulled and halved
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 10-inch deep pie baking dish.
- Combine chopped pistachios with pecans, sugar, and cinnamon, stirring to combine.
- Lay one sheet of phyllo dough on a clean work counter. Brush with melted butter. Place another sheet on top and brush with melted butter. Repeat until you have 10 buttered sheets stacked on top of one another. Lay sheets in pie dish, pressing down to form the crust. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of nut mixture on top.
- Brush melted butter on phyllo dough. Place another sheet on top and brush with melted butter. Place the two sheets in pie dish slightly askew so that the edges of the phyllo sheets don't match up. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of nut mixture on top. Repeat with remaining sheets, placing each set slightly askew, and sprinkle nut mixture.
- Trim excess dough around the edges. Prick the crust with a fork several times and place pie dish on a sheet pan. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until golden brown, turning halfway through.
- While the crust is baking, prepare custard filling. Heat milk in a medium saucepot over low heat until it comes to a bare simmer.
- Whisk together egg, egg yolks, sugar, vanilla bean paste, and lemon zest in heat-safe bowl until well combined. Slowly add milk, whisking constantly.
- Remove crust from oven and pour filling immediately into crust. Return to oven and continue to bake for 25 minutes or until the filling has set.
- While the pie is baking, prepare maple strawberries. Heat maple syrup with butter and a pinch of salt over low heat. Continue to simmer until butter is melted and syrup is warm, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add strawberries, stirring to combine. Let sit for 10 minutes.
- Remove pie from oven and immediately scoop strawberries on top with a slotted spoon. Drizzle a couple of tablespoons of syrup on top. Let sit for 10 minutes. Dust baklava custard pie with powdered sugar and serve warm.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
I'm going to be honest, I don't particularly like baklava. The ones I've tried are overwhelmingly sweet, drowning in syrup. It wasn't until I visited Germany and Greece that I realized not all baklava are the same. I had the chance to taste versions that were only lightly drizzled with syrup and still kept their crispness. Now those versions I can get on board with.
With that idea of baklava in mind, I decided to create a baklava pudding pie filled with custard and topped with maple strawberries. The maple strawberries serve as the substitute for traditional syrup while you still have pistachios and pecans with phyllo.
Start preparing the pie by first creating the crust. Brush melted butter on ten sheets of phyllo dough, stacking them one on top of another. My sheets were 9x14 inches which I found to be a great size for this pie.
Place the crust in your prepared pie dish, gently pressing it down. Make sure to use a deep pie dish since we are using a total of 18 phyllo sheets.
Sprinkle the pecan and pistachio mixture on top of the buttered phyllo sheets. You can choose to use only pistachios, only pecans, or even add walnuts to the mix.
Brush butter on another two sheets of phyllo, stacking them on top of one another. Lay them in the pie dish and sprinkle the nut mixture. Continue to repeat until you use all of the phyllo sheets and nut mixture.
Since my sheets weren't wide enough to fully cover the entire pie dish, I switched the direction every time I placed the next layer. This way, the entire pie dish was covered.
Trim excess dough that hangs over the pie dough; I let about ½ inch of the dough hang over the edge just to have an extra dramatic effect (and a little extra phyllo crust never hurt anyone!).
Since the crust was slightly hanging over the pie dish, I went ahead and placed the pie on a baking sheet to catch any butter that drips.
Poke holes in the crust using a fork and bake for about 25 minutes or until golden brown.
While the crust is baking, make the filling. We're going to pour the custard filling directly into the hot crust so you want to have it ready to go.
Heat milk until it comes to a bare simmer, then slowly whisk it with the eggs, whisking constantly. Since the filling is poured into a hot crust, you want to heat the filling to prevent the eggs from curdling.
When I tried cooling the crust first and adding cold custard filling, it resulted in a soggy bottom crust. By baking the pie while the filling and crust are still hot, I was able to produce a baklava pudding pie with a crisp bottom.
Bake the pie until the filling has set, about 25 minutes. Meanwhile, make the maple strawberries. We're also topping the pie while it's hot to prevent it from getting soggy. This means we need to have the strawberries ready to go.
Heat maple syrup with a pat of butter and a pinch of salt until warm and simmering. Turn off the heat and stir in fresh strawberries, turning to marinate. Let the berries sit in the syrup for 10 minutes, keeping them warm.
As soon as you remove the pie from the oven, go ahead and scoop the warm strawberries on top. If you want a little more sweetness, drizzle a couple of tablespoons of the maple syrup on top.
Let the pie cool slightly and serve with a dusting of powdered sugar.
I highly recommend serving the baklava pudding pie warm. The pie will firm up a bit once completely cooled, making it taste denser. However, don't fret because the flavors will still be great!
I took a bite of this pie and felt like I was back in Greece. The crispy phyllo with pudding filled with nuts and sweet berries is a match made in heaven!
For more pie inspiration check out this mocha mousse pie with toasted marshmallow meringue!