Maple bougatsa

The other day I was watching Martha Stewart make all things phyllo. I LOVE LOVE LOVE phyllo! The first recipe she made was called a ruffled milk pie. I was glued to the screen soaking up every single word. This was apparently a Greek Easter pie made with phyllo and custard...that's it...she had me hook, line and sinker!

I watched as she wrapped the phyllo around and around into a big circle similar to my veggie roulade tart. Then as she tempered the eggs with the scalding hot milk managing NOT to make scrambled eggs in the process, the final result was a thing of beauty. I mulled over what I had seen and thought of how I could make it my own and then researched this Greek delicacy. It's actually called bougatsa and it's made with semolina custard or minced meat and sometimes cheese. 

I wanted mine to be sweet and I wanted to incorporate maple syrup (I'll put maple syrup in just about everything). I researched a few recipes, each one very different from the other and none of them using maple syrup. I saw recipes like Martha's that called for tempering the eggs with scalding hot milk or cream and one that approached the custard like I make my mom's flan; cold. I modified the ingredients for the custard  to my liking  and tried the scalding/tempering method...TOTAL DISASTER! I ended up with a bowl of very sweet liquidy scrambled eggs...yuck! I chucked the sweet eggy soup and tried it again my way...I should have trusted my instincts from the get go. I was inspired by the beauty of my apple roses and I made this bougatsa a plateful of gorgeous rosettes. The following is the recipe to make the most heavenly maple bougatsa EVER!

INGREDIENTS for a 9 inch pie plate

  • 10 sheets of phyllo dough cut in half
  • 1/2 cup of butter
  • 1 cup of maple syrup
  • 1 cup of whole milk
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 eggs yolks
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 tsp of vanilla

HOW TO

  • Preheat the oven to 350°
  • Generously butter a 9 inch pie plate
  • Melt the rest of the butter to brush each layer of phyllo
  • Cut the phyllo in half and cover with a damp paper towel as you brush each sheet one by one
  • Brush the phyllo with butter then gather it up like an accordion or like when we used to make paper fans as children
  • Once gathered, twist into little rosettes (not too tight) and line the pie plate with each
  • You should have 20 snug little rosettes once done
  • Brush the top of the rosettes with the remaining butter and into the oven it goes for 20-30 minutes until browned
  • In the meantime, whisk the eggs, sugar and vanilla together then add the cream, milk and maple syrup
  • Pour the custard through a sieve
  • Once the pie is a nice golden brown, pull it out of the oven
  • Pour the custard mixture over the rosettes and back into the oven for another 20-30 minutes
  • You will have extra custard ...the recipe makes for 2 portions. You can refrigerate and make another pie with the rest of the unused phyllo sheets
  • The pie will pouff up but will settle within minutes
  • Once cooled for 5 minutes, dust with icing sugar and cinnamon

ENJOY!