Makes one 9-inch (23 cm) tart or shallow pie
The idea for this recipe came to me in a dream, and when I woke up I couldn’t wait to make it. I took it as a very good omen when “Cook with Honey,” a Judy Collins song I remembered from my early 20s, began to stream on the internet radio just as I was adding in a cup of orange blossom honey, which I had been saving for a special occasion. The combination of the music and special honey made this pie seem magical. Defrost the delicate phyllo dough in the fridge overnight, and use a light touch when handling.
1 cup (240 ml) honey, orange blossom if possible (see Note)
1 tablespoon flour
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks; 168 g) butter, melted
2 eggs, fork beaten
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon orange blossom water (optional)
Zest of 1 orange
1 teaspoon cardamom
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups (240 g) finely chopped walnuts
1 pound (453 g) phyllo dough, defrosted
Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
In a medium bowl, place the honey, flour, 1 tablespoon of the melted butter, fork-beaten eggs, vanilla, orange blossom water, orange zest, cardamom, salt, and 1½ cups (180 g) of the chopped walnuts. Mix together until combined and set aside.
Butter the pan with some of the melted butter.
Carefully and gently lay one sheet of phyllo dough over the buttered plate. The edges will hang over the rim of the pan. Lightly brush with butter.
Repeat with three more sheets of phyllo dough, brushing lightly with butter after each sheet is added.
Lightly press the buttered sheets of phyllo down into the pan.
Pour in the walnut honey orange filling, using a rubber or silicone spatula to get the entire delicious filling into the pan.
As if they were all one, roll tightly the edges of the phyllo dough sheets that are hanging over the rim of the pan, an inch or so toward the center of the pan, so they form a coil touching the inner edges of the pan.
Brush another sheet of phyllo dough with butter and carefully roll it up into one long rope. Lay the rope in a coil on top of the filling. Repeat this step six or seven times more until the entire top of the filling is topped with buttered and rolled sheets of phyllo dough in concentric circles.
If you like, take an additional buttered sheet of phyllo dough, lightly scrunch it up and place it in the middle of the pie, tucking it down just a bit into the center of the coils.
Sprinkle the remaining ½ cup of walnuts over the top of the pie.
Brush any remaining butter over the top of the pie.
Bake for 50 minutes until golden brown. Cool for at least one hour before cutting.
NOTE: Orange blossom honey has a mild and light citrus flavor. Clover honey, which is also mild tasting, can be substituted.
PHYLLO DOUGH TIPS
“Phyllo” is the Greek word for “leaf,” which is an apt description of the tissue-thin dough sheets used in Mediterranean baking that can be found in the freezer section at the grocery store. As it is more fragile than pie dough, a little extra care is needed when working with it. Defrost the dough slowly in the fridge. The sheets can dry out quickly, so keep them covered with plastic wrap and a damp kitchen towel on top to keep them moist. Brush each layer with melted butter before adding another layer. When working with this fragile dough, I say the words “light light light . . . butter butter butter” as I lift and brush each layer. Be patient as you go. The end result is worth the effort.
Reprinted with permission from Pie Camp. Copyright © 2020 by Kate McDermott. Photographs copyright © 2020 by Andrew Scrivani. Published by Countryman Press.
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