It started off good. I loved Part 1 with Paul in Greece, working through his grief and making new friends. I understood how difficult it was for him to lose his life's partner that he stuck with through good times and bad. I understood how he needed to get away and reconcile with the fact that he was alone and his boys, especially his eldest, and he did not see eye to eye.
I liked the Part 2 where we got to know the eldest son, Fenno, and his brother's and their wives a little better. I liked how the family dynamics are seen so differently by each. I found that to be very realistic.
I started off liking Part 3 and then it just went south on me and the next thing I knew it ended. Just ended. No conclusion. No end of story line. It was like the author got sick of the story and set it down and walked away. What the heck!!!
The worst part was that when I wrote my invitation post I was just starting Part 3 and I had written that I was going to do another recipe inspired by the book. I had been inspired the the Book Club Cookbook to make a White Chocolate Pumpkin Mousse when I announced the novel that I chose but I
Okay, enough bellyaching, I decided my favorite part of the book was Paul's time in Greece so I decided to go with a Greek dish. I am anxious to see if others reacted to this novel as I did and to see what they were inspired to make. Let's take a look.
Our fearless leader, Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla, was the first to submit her post for this month. Cam is still unsure of whether she enjoyed my selection but she was inspired to make several dishes including a beautiful quince dessert that reminded her of sunsets. In the end she decide to submit the Book Club Cookbook's selection of White Chocolate Mousse because "a dessert worthy of the Greek gods. Yep. I had to do it". Thanks Cam for starting this club and for sharing all of your inspirations.
The next submission came from Sarah of The Pajama Chef who was inspired to make Beef Stroganoff because of all the meals around which family gathered. Sarah said "When I think of family meals, beef stroganoff is on of THE meals that come to mind". I have to say that her recipe certainly looks incredible and I can see why it holds such a place in her memory and heart.
Next up is Erin of The Spiffy Cookie. Erin made an absolutely decadent looking White Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse, using white chocolate flavored peanut butter. I have never heard of white chocolate peanut butter but you can be sure that I am keeping my eyes peeled for it the next time I am at the grocers!
Let's go over and visit with Ashley of Cheese Curd in Paradise. Ashley didn't have an opportunity to read this month's selection so she went with the White Chocolate Mousse inspiration from the cookbook. Ashley made this her own by turning them into Adorable White Chocolate Mousse Ghosts.
Renee of Adventures in All Things Food joined us this month sharing her version of White Chocolate Mousse. Renee's husband is a purist and loves white chocolate even though Renee prefers milk chocolate so they compromised. Renee says "I decided to do the noble thing and keep the white chocolate mousse, but I spiked it with my favorite flavor-Kahlua!". Take a look at how great Renee's White Chocolate Kahlua Mousse sounds!
Last but not least, here is the recipe I decided to share. Last year I won a great cookbook, It's all Greek to Me. I have shared several meals from it like olokliri-kota-sti-skara, soutzoukakia, baklava and spanakopita. All of these dishes turned out marvelous so I was sure that this pie inspired by Three Junes would as well. I was looking for a recipe and had thought I would like to make rice pudding but then I came across this recipe and remembered the last section of the book (before I hated it) when Fern prepared her specialty, pies for Tony, Fenno and Dennis. I decided I would combine these and make a Classic Phyllo Custard Pie.
I reduced the recipe as I had no need for sixteen to twenty pieces of pie from a 9x13 pan and used an 8x8 pan instead.
It was delicious.
It almost made me happy I read the book, almost......
Phyllo Custard Pie
adapted from It's all Greek to me by Debbie Motenopoulos
3 c. milk
1/2 c. semolina flour
1/4 t. vanilla paste
2 large eggs
1/2 c. sugar
1 T. butter, room temperature
1 roll (1/2 of a 1 lb pkg) phyllo dough sheets, thawed
1/2 stick butter, melted
1 1/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. water
1 slice lemon peel (1"x 2")
juice of 1/2 a lemon
In a medium sauce pan over med high heat bring milk to a simmer, being careful not to boil. When milk is hot add the flour, cook and stir constantly until mixture thickens. Add vanilla, cook and stir one minute longer. Remove from heat and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the whisk attachment, combine the eggs and sugar, slowly add a 1/2 cup of the custard to the egg mixture, whisking continually. Add the tempered egg mixture to the pan of custard whisking vigorously to prevent scrambling. Set aside, stirring occasionally to prevent skin from forming.
Place the phyllo dough out flat on a counter, covering to prevent the dough from drying. Double 1 phyllo sheet and place in the bottom of an 8x8 pan that has been treated with baking spray, brush with melted butter, add another folded layer, brush with butter, continue in this manner until half of the phyllo sheets are used. Pour the custard over the phyllo sheets and top with the remaining phyllo sheets in the same manner as before. Brush the final layer liberally with any remaining butter and sprinkle with 2 t. of water.
With a very sharp knife, score the top few layers of the phyllo into 9 pieces taking care not to cut all the way into the custard. Bake in a preheated 350* oven for 50-60 minutes or until flaky and golden brown.
While the pie is baking make a simple syrup by placing the sugar and water into a medium saucepan with the lemon peel. Stir over medium high heat to bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the juice of half a lemon. Set aside to come to room temperature while the pie finishes baking.
Upon removing pie from the oven, immediately ladle the syrup over it. Allow to sit for 45 minutes before cutting through and serving. This pie is best served warm. Print Recipe
Make sure you join us next month as Erin from The Spiffy Cookie hosts Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J K Rowling. I can't wait!!
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