Baked Figs & Custard in Phyllo Pastry- A Taste of Greece

October 21, 2016

Baked Figs & Custard in Phyllo Pastry

So sorry this post is long overdue. Between writing progress reports, dealing with PMS, and catching a cold, I couldn’t get myself to finish writing and posting this recipe.

This is my second recipe from A Taste of Greece: Recipes, Cuisine & Culture. Figs are one of my favorite fruits and I look forward to the end of summer each year for fig season. While I love them, I don’t always love them in desserts. I’ve had them in tarts and cakes, but more often than not, I prefer to eat them fresh, so I was a little skeptical going into this recipe.

Baked Figs & Custard in Phyllo Pastry

I cut the recipe in half because Tristan was feeling sick and I didn’t think I could eat 4 servings of this on my own. Turns out, half the recipe was still too much for me.

First, make the custard. Heat the milk over medium heat until it reaches 185°F (85°C). While you’re waiting for the milk to heat, sift the flour and custard powder into a small bowl. The cookbook suggests Bird’s Custard Powder but I couldn’t find that particular brand in my supermarket, so I used the Docello custard powder by Nestlé. Beat in the egg yolks and sugar. Slowly pour the milk into the egg mixture while whisking constantly. Pour this mixture into the saucepan and simmer for a couple minutes until it begins to thicken.

Baked Figs & Custard in Phyllo Pastry

Pour the custard into a bowl (I put mine through a fine mesh sieve), cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate. The original recipe says to cook the custard for 4 minutes, but mine became too thick after cooking it for 3 minutes, as you can see in the photo. That photo was taken while it was still hot, and because custard thickens as it cools, it’s obvious it’s too thick to be spread onto the phyllo later on. I ended up having to add a couple tablespoons of milk to the cooked custard to thin it out.

Baked Figs & Custard in Phyllo Pastry

While the custard is chilling, prepare the phyllo pastry. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine the lemon juice and honey in a small bowl and heat it up in the microwave until it’s hot, about 20 seconds. Place a sheet of phyllo on the parchment paper and brush with butter, sprinkle on some walnuts, then sprinkle the honey mixture on top. Place another sheet of phyllo over that and repeat the process until you have 10 layers of phyllo pastry. I had to cut the phyllo in half and bake in two batches because my oven was too small. Bake the phyllo in the oven until  it’s golden both on the top and bottom. Mine took about 12 minutes. While it’s still hot, cut the phyllo pastry into 6 pieces. Because I had two batches, I cut each batch into 3 rectangles.

Baked Figs & Custard in Phyllo Pastry

Halving the recipe meant I would use 4 figs, but looking at the baked phyllo I realized that 2 fig halves between each layer wouldn’t be enough. Maybe my figs were too small, or perhaps the phyllo sheets were bigger than the ones used in the cookbook. I decided to use 6 figs so I can have 3 halves between each layer, like the photograph in the cookbook shows. I also adjusted the amount of sugar and thyme to the number of figs.

Heat the sugar in a pan and cook until it turns into a light golden caramel. Add the figs and cook for a couple of minutes until all fig halves are coated. Add the thyme and let cool completely.

Baked Figs & Custard in Phyllo Pastry

To assemble, spread some custard onto the first layer of phyllo, place 3 fig halves on top, another layer of phyllo, more custard, more figs, and top with the last layer of phyllo.

While this may be aesthetically pleasing and impressive, it was incredibly difficult to eat. Trying to cut through the layers of phyllo made a huge mess on my plate and my table. Furthermore, each serving is giant. I had a third of a serving and it was more than plenty. If I do make this again, I would serve one fig half on a small square of phyllo. Less mess, and a more reasonable serving size in my opinion.

Baked Figs & Custard in Phyllo Pastry

While I had difficulty eating this dessert in a graceful manner, it was tasty. The flavor of the honey and lemon in the phyllo, the hint of thyme on the figs, the combination of different textures all came together nicely. Was it tasty enough to make again? Maybe if I’m bringing a dessert to a party and it needs to be something small so everyone can try different foods.

Want more recipes from this cookbook? Check out the first recipe I tried out here.

I’m bringing these to this week’s Fiesta Friday, hosted by Elaine and Michelle!

Baked Figs & Custard in Phyllo Pastry

Serving Size: 2

Baked Figs & Custard in Phyllo Pastry

From the book, A Taste of Greece: Recipes, Cuisine & Culture. Recipe rewritten in my own words and with the adjustments made during cooking.

Ingredients

    Custard
  • ½ cup plus 4 teaspoons (140ml) milk
  • 1½ tablespoons (12.5g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon custard powder
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3½ tablespoons (45g) sugar
    Pastry
  • 4 tablespoons (60g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1½ tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3.5 oz (100g) phyllo pastry, about 10 sheets
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (75g) chopped walnuts
    Figs
  • ⅓ cup plus 2 teaspoons (75g) sugar
  • 6 ripe figs, halved
  • ½ sprig fresh thyme

Instructions

  1. Heat the milk over medium heat until it reaches 185°F (85°C).
  2. While you're waiting for the milk to heat, sift the flour and custard powder into a small bowl. Beat in the egg yolks and sugar.
  3. Slowly pour the milk into the egg mixture while whisking constantly. Pour this mixture into the saucepan and simmer only until it begins to thicken. Pour the custard into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  5. Combine the lemon juice and honey in a small bowl and heat it up in the microwave until it's hot, about 20 seconds.
  6. Place a sheet of phyllo on the parchment paper and brush with butter, sprinkle on some walnuts, then sprinkle on the honey mixture. Place another sheet of phyllo on top and repeat the process.
  7. Bake in the oven until the phyllo is golden both on the top and bottom, about 12 minutes. While it's still hot, cut into 6 pieces.
  8. Heat the sugar in a pan and cook until it turns into a light golden caramel. Add the figs and cook for a couple of minutes until all fig halves are coated. Add the thyme and let cool completely.
  9. To assemble, spread some custard onto the first layer of phyllo, place 3 fig halves on top, another layer of phyllo, more custard, more figs, and top with the last layer of phyllo.
http://www.aimadeitforyou.com/baked-figs-and-custard-in-phyllo-pastry/

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16 Comments

  • Reply Michelle October 21, 2016 at 10:02 pm

    Ai-
    This is such a beautiful presentation and I loved your play by play. I felt like I was cooking with you!
    The individual ” minis” look fantastic for a fun hors d’oeuvre at a dinner party.
    Thanks so much for sharing at Fiesta Friday #142!
    Michelle

    • Reply Ai October 22, 2016 at 12:59 am

      Thank you, Michelle! Thanks for co-hosting the fiesta this week! Your cinnamon bun martini looks SO good 😀

  • Reply Julie October 22, 2016 at 7:38 am

    This looks wonderful Ai! So elegant. I love figs but we can’t grow them and I never see them fresh. So sad. I can only imagine combined with the phyllo and custard how wonderful they were. I’d love to serve them for New Years or an elegant party like that.

    • Reply Ai October 23, 2016 at 4:43 pm

      Hi Julie! I feel like figs are a love it or hate it kind of fruit, having a sweet yet earthy taste. These would be perfect for an elegant New Years party! I might make them even smaller with maybe a quarter of a fig 😀

  • Reply Jenny October 22, 2016 at 11:44 am

    This looks delicious! I don’t have much experience with figs, but they always look so beautiful in photos. I can imagine that the flavors in this recipe go great together!

    • Reply Ai October 23, 2016 at 4:44 pm

      Thank you, Jenny! I find figs beautiful too!

  • Reply judigraber October 23, 2016 at 12:47 am

    I don’t see figs often so I never make anything with them. Your recipe sure makes me wish I could find some fresh here in my part of the country 🙂

  • Reply Hilda October 23, 2016 at 2:51 am

    These are really beautiful!

  • Reply zeba October 24, 2016 at 7:54 am

    Amazing and elegant dish. I wish i could take a bite. Love figs and this is an perfect way to showcase them 🙂

    • Reply Ai October 26, 2016 at 12:49 pm

      Thank you, Zeba!

  • Reply Debbie October 28, 2016 at 9:16 pm

    What a beautiful dish!

    • Reply Ai October 29, 2016 at 11:10 pm

      Thank you, Debbie! I tore it apart and made a huge mess trying to eat it haha. Good thing I got the photos before I did that 😛

  • Reply Johanne Lamarche October 28, 2016 at 9:50 pm

    Oh my this is calling my name! LOVE Baklava, LOVE figs, LOVE lemon and you’ve wrapped it all together in one awesome napolean featuring all 3. Yes please!

    • Reply Ai October 29, 2016 at 11:11 pm

      Thank you, Johanne! Not my recipe, so can’t take credit for it 😛 You’d love it if you love all those things!

  • Reply Petra November 1, 2016 at 1:12 am

    This looks absolutely mouthwatering! Thank you for sharing, I will absolutely give this a go! Happy FF! 🙂

    • Reply Ai November 1, 2016 at 11:18 am

      Thank you, Petra! Happy FF!

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