She told me about how wonderful it was and I knew I had to make it. The first time I made it, it didn’t turn out correctly. I didn’t cook it long enough, but that’s because it started to brown on top too early and I got nervous. The next time I made it, I used a different oven and kept an eye on it. No problems at all, but if it did brown too early, I had planned to cover it with foil. Why I didn’t do that the first time, I’m not sure.
Made correctly, this is a very light, super moist dessert. It’s actually called Portokalopita and it should be made with orange. I’m not a big fan of orange flavored things, so I used lemon instead. I have tried it with the orange (thanks Cathy) but I really like it better with the lemon.
This recipe is unique because you use dried phyllo sheets. That’s right, no flour in this but dried phyllo sheets. I opened them up and placed them on a cookie sheet while I made the syrup, flipping them over once. Also, I suggest that you make the syrup in enough time to thoroughly cool down. I’ve wondered if you could use a flavored greek yogurt, like honey or citrus and may try that when I make it again-or not. If you can’t find greek yogurt, you can use sour cream.
This pie is best served cold, but room temperature is fine too.
- 1 C sugar
- 2 C water
- 2 T Thyme honey
- Zest of 1 lemon, stripped
- 1/3 C sugar
- 1/3 C olive oil
- 2 T baking powder
- 1 t vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 C Greek yogurt
- 4 eggs
- Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
- 10 sheets phyllo
- Juice from 2 lemons
In a saucepan over medium-high heat combine the water, sugar, honey and strips of lemon zest. Bring to a boil and cook for about 15 minutes. Cover the saucepan and set aside to cool. You can actually make the syrup a day ahead, just store it in your pantry not the fridge.
Remove the phyllo dough from its package and allow it to dry out. I placed the sheets on a large cookie sheet. Make sure to flip the sheets over, you want them to be nice and dry so that they are easier to tear.
Once you are ready to assemble the pie, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly oil a 8×11 baking dish. In a large bowl whisk the 4 eggs until just combined. Add the oil, sugar, vanilla, lemon zest, lemon juice, yogurt and baking powder and whisk well. Tear up the phyllo sheets and add them to the egg mixture. Use a rubber spatula and stir until phyllo is coated.
Bake the pita until set and golden on top, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven, score lightly into pieces with a sharp knife and then pour the cooled syrup over the warm pita. Set the portokalopita aside and let cool completely before serving.
Here’s the original recipe.