This dish came together last year, almost a year now but the time is right. Forgive me for the link-love that’s coming in this post but it’s necessary and good blogging karma. Last year I attended the Canadian Food & Restaurant Association (CFRA) Show where restaurants, franchises, distributors, innovators and practically anyone else who wants to promote their goods or services to a wide audience. I also went to see the cooking demos from some of Canada’s top food personalities and after three days – I was tired, stuffed with food and filled with meeting some good new contacts and friends.
One couple that stood out was Su and Gokhan, ever-smiling and promoting their Zei olive oil from the Aegean coast of Turkey (just across from Mytilini). The olive oil was being well-received but the stand-out products were in these jars and samples were being given out on these small spoons. No, they weren’t giving out caviar but samples of hazelnut, almond and pistachio spreads. All three are sweet but the pistachio paste is the front-runner with its bright green colour, natural sweetness and honey.
A few weeks later I finally caught-up again with Su and Gokhan where we discussed Turkey and Greece, our love of the two countries, the similarity and uniqueness of each cuisine and ultimately the pistachio spread and how to showcase/feature it. I was given some samples and off I went to create a dish that would draw attention that this product merited.
Here in Toronto, you can find pistachio spread at McEwan’s, Alex Farms (2594 Yonge north of Eglintion), Cheese Boutique, Mercantile on Roncesvalles, Geri’s Eatin’ Centre, Market Fresh in Guelph and Vincenzo’s in Kitchener.
There’s some prep involved with making this light dessert which used layers of phyllo pastry to make up the three layers of this dessert with the pistachio spread, some raspberries and Creme Anglaise. I had some leftover phyllo and rather than throw it out, I used in lieu of opening a package of puff pastry (which you may still do)! Creme Anglaise is basically a saucier egg custard that can be used to top a pound cakes, some berries or a steamed pudding. For those that like to have dessert out of the way, you should prep this dessert the day before and simply assemble come dessert time.
The soft crunch of phyllo, rich and nutty pistachio spread, tart raspberries and velvet Creme Anglaise all play with your taste buds…dance on the tongue!
8 sheets of phyllo, thawed overnight in the fridge
1/2 cup melted butter
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups of half & half cream
2 tsp. of pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup sugar
5 large egg yolks
1-180 gr. jar of pistachio spread
2 pints of raspberries
- Allow the phyllo 15 minutes to come to room temperature. Place a sheet of phyllo on your work surface and brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar. Repeat with 3 more sheets of phyllo then cut into 9 equal squares. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and then place another sheet of parchment and lay another baking tray on top to weigh down. Place in your pre-heated 325F oven for approx. 15 minutes or until golden. Carefully remove the phyllo squares and allow to cool.
- Repeat above procedure to make the second batch of phyllo squares.
- To make your crème anglaise, add your cream into a medium pot and bring to just scalding over medium heat. In the medium, add the egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl and whisk until thoroughly creamed. As soon as the milk comes to the scalding stage, add the vanilla and take off the heat. While whisking the creamed eggs and sugar, slowly add the hot cream then pour everything back in the pot and simmer while stirring over medium heat until the crème anglaise just coats a spoon.
- Remove from the heat, pour through a strainer (along with any settled cream on the bottom) and place in a bowl with plastic film covering it. Refrigerate overnight to set and thicken.
- To assemble, place a spoon of crème anglaise on each plate to secure the bottom layer of phyllo then place the first layer of phyllo followed by some berries then some crème anglaise. Repeat for a total of 3 layers topped with berries, crème anglaise and a sprig of mint for garnish and sprinkle ground pistachios on top and around the plate.
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