Vanilla Custard in Filo Pastry


Vanilla custard

My Dad, award winning restaurateur George Psarias, appeared on ITV’s Britain’s Best Dish-The Chefs a fair few years ago now with the recipe for his custard in filo pastry tart which also appeared in the book that accompanied the series.

This is a favourite among Greeks.


  • For the vanilla custard:
  • 650 ml full fat milk
  • Pared rind of 1/2 unwaxed lemon and grated zest of the other 1/2
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 20g unsalted butter, softened
  • Pinch of salt
  • 125 g fine semolina
  • 1/2 vanilla pod, split lengthways and seeds scraped out
  • 200g filo pastry
  • 125g unsalted butter, melted.
  • 200g caster sugar
  • Pared rind and juice of 1/2 unwaxed lemon
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 cloves
  • Splash of rose water

For the coulis

  • 110g of raspberries
  • 2 tsp icing sugar
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon


To make the vanilla custard, preheat the oven to 180°C (Gas Mark 4).

Heat the milk with the lemon rind in a small pan to boiling point. Remove from the heat and leave to cool for 10 minutes. Remove the lemon rind and discard. Using an electric hand held mixer, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar in a bowl until thick and creamy.

Add the butter, lemon zest and salt and stir well. Then gradually add the semolina, mixing continuously.

Slowly pour in the cooled milk, mixing thoroughly after each addition, and return the mixture to a clean pan. Cook over a low heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove the custard from the heat and add the vanilla seeds.

Cover the surface with cling film to prevent a skin forming or leave to cool.

Butter a 15 x 20 cm baking tin and line the base with half the filo pastry, brushing each sheet with melted butter and spreading one on top of the other. Spread the cooled custard evenly with a spatula over the pastry and turn the edges of the pastry over the custard to keep it from oozing out.

Cover the surface of the custard with remaining sheets of filo pastry, each brushed with melted butter. Brush the top with more melted butter and seal the edges with a little cold water. Score the top layer of pastry with a sharp knife diagonally across the tin about 8cm apart and in both directions to form diamond shapes. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes until golden brown.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool before cutting into six slices.

For the syrup, put the sugar, lemon rind, cinnamon and cloves with 150ml of water into a pan. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes. Then add the lemon juice and rose water and simmer for a further 2-3 minutes. Strain the cinnamon stick, lemon rind and cloves out of the hot syrup before pouring it carefully all over the cold pastry.

To make the coulis, put the raspberries, icing sugar, lemon juice and rose water into a blender together with 1 tbsp of water and blend for a few seconds. Pass through a sieve to remove the seeds.

To serve, place a custard slice in the centre of each plate and drizzle the coulis around it. Decorate with the raspberries and dust with icing sugar.

If that all sounds like too much hard work, why not pop over to the Olive Tree Greek restaurants in Leeds and eat it there!

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62 Responses

  1. jenny paulin

    oooh that looks good enough to eat! i could so eat that right now x
    jenny paulin recently posted…Red Devilish Chocolate Cake #evenbetterbaking with Dr.OetkerMy Profile

  2. Angela

    I love using filo pastry and this combination looks simply mouth watering.
    Angela recently posted…Curried Lamb ShanksMy Profile

  3. Alison

    That looks gorgeous, I know my hubby and son would both love it, I will have to give it a try
    Alison recently posted…Making a Steak PieMy Profile

    • HonestMum

      Oh thanks, will let my Dad know, he’ll be chuffed x
      HonestMum recently posted…Vanilla Custard in Filo PastryMy Profile

  4. Mel

    Just realised I’d forgotten to link up this morning!

    This dessert looks like one of my favourites: Millefeuille (without the ‘mille’, really!). Yum!
    Mel recently posted…10 minute crafts – 5 Ideas for Spring and Easter!My Profile

  5. Marta

    That looks so beyond delicious! And your dad sounds like he’s a wizard in the kitchen. Thanks for hosting!

    Marta recently posted…Mason Jar Mixed Berry CrispMy Profile

  6. Rheagan

    Thanks for hosting another tasty-looking Tuesday! And that custard pastry looks amazing 🙂
    Rheagan recently posted…AIP ColcannonMy Profile

  7. Fionnuala

    Mmm, this sounds just like the kind of thing I love.
    Fionnuala recently posted…My Favourite Irish Food for St. Patrick’s DayMy Profile

  8. Ginny Williams

    That dessert looks amazing! Now I’m hungry, so I’ll just munch on my healthy apple to stave of custard pangs. I’m not great working with filo pastry but I may just have to give it another go for this dessert!
    Ginny Williams recently posted…Banana-Blueberry MuffinsMy Profile

  9. Kyra

    Hi Vicki, thanks for hosting this linkup! This pastry looks delish, especially with the raspberry coulis too…mmm! I’m sharing a dessert too this week: sugar free apple pie (vegan, wheat free). Have a great week!
    Kyra recently posted…Sugar Free Apple PieMy Profile

  10. Sandi @ Sandi'sAllergyFreeRecipes

    Good morning Vicki! Thanks for hosting! This week I’m sharing my Paleo Pizza.
    I hope you have a great week!
    Sandi @ Sandi’sAllergyFreeRecipes recently posted…Paleo Pizza Crust (Gluten Free/ Dairy Free/ Vegan/ Nut Free)My Profile

  11. Rebecca U

    Oh my word this is right up my street! Filo pastry is the best. Thanks for hosting the link up x
    Rebecca U recently posted…Paddy’s Green SmoothieMy Profile

  12. Mirka Moore @Kahanka @Fitness4Mamas

    This looks exactly like a dessert my Czech grandmother used to make when I was little. Would love to see if it tastes the same. Well, the only option is to make it. x
    Mirka Moore @Kahanka @Fitness4Mamas recently posted…Easy Thai Red Chicken Curry RecipeMy Profile

  13. Jen

    Looks fabulous, I’ve just had breakfast but want a piece already!
    Jen recently posted…Raspberry and hazelnut porridgeMy Profile

  14. Rachel

    Wow! That does look fabulous. I do love #tastytuesdays with all the amazing recipes here I’ll never need to buy another recipe book!

  15. Laura

    oooOoooh that looks like a really yummy recipe! Might have to try it! 🙂 x
    Laura recently posted…For My MumMy Profile

  16. Lydia Gerratt

    I LOVE custard filo pastry – this recipe looks delicious!!
    Lydia Gerratt recently posted…Mussel gratin with garlic, parsley and lemon zestMy Profile

  17. International Elf Service

    Oh my. I absolutely adore this kind of dessert! Really beautiful presentation 🙂
    International Elf Service recently posted…Crafts For Hand Eye Co-ordination – Fizzy Colour DropsMy Profile

  18. Mel

    This looks really unusual and I want to try it! You are really lucky to have such a creative dad, Vicki! x Mel
    Mel recently posted…Chorizo PastaMy Profile


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