Love at first bite

Filo custard tart.jpg

Filo Custard Tart

1 litre milk
3 medium eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
100g caster sugar
100g fine semolina
2 tsp vanilla extract
120g unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
225g filo pastry
For the syrup
150g caster sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1) Heat the oven to 190°C/gas 5. Brush a 23 x 30cm ovenproof dish or baking tin with melted butter.
2) Pour the milk into a pan and bring to just below boiling point, then remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
3) In a bowl, lightly beat the eggs, egg yolks and sugar together until thoroughly blended. Stir in the semolina. Transfer the mixture to a large heavy pan and pour in the hot milk, stirring constantly. Simmer over a low heat, still stirring, for about 10 minutes until smooth and thick. Remove from the heat, add the vanilla extract and 3–4 tablespoons of the melted butter.
4) Cut the filo sheets to fit the dish and spread half of them on the base, brushing each with melted butter before laying on the next. Pour in the custard and spread evenly over the filo.
5) Stack the remaining sheets on top of the custard, brushing each with melted butter before adding another layer. Using a knife, cut 4 strips lengthways into the pastry layers without cutting through the edges. Brush the top of the tart with butter and sprinkle with a little water.
6) Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 160°C/gas 3 and bake for a further 35 minutes until the top is golden and crisp.
7) For the syrup, place the sugar and lemon juice into a pan, pour in 125ml water and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Boil without stirring for 7 minutes, then remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla extract and leave to stand for 10 minutes to thicken. 
8) Spoon the syrup over the pastry as soon as it is out of the oven. Allow the pastry to cool and absorb the syrup, then cut into 5cm squares or diamonds and serve warm or at room temperature.