As we prepared to spend the weekend at our friends in Bend, I made sure that I gathered all the necessary items to make the cake. The hardest thing to find was the pyloh dough used for the top and bottom crust. I looked at three stores until I found Organic Fillo Dough at a New Season market.
The recipe has three components: crust, vanilla cream filling, and whipped cream filling. The bottom crust is a single section that fits into the bottom of the serving dish (in this case a 9 x 13 inch Pyrex glass cooking pan) and the top crust is pre-cut into individual serving sizes to prevent it from shattering when cutting for serving.
I started by setting the oven to 375 degrees and then finding a cookie sheet, in this case an air bake pan. I gave the cookie sheet a light coating of cooking spray. Next, I calculated the size of the serving dish (one-half a sheet of pyloh dough) and then stacked eight sheets of pyloh dough, brushing each sheet with melted butter before laying on the next sheet. Once I had built the stack, I trimmed the excess so it would fit into the bottom of the serving pan. I cooked the crust for ten minutes until it was a light golden brown. Once the bottom crust was cool, I placed it into the serving dish.
Next, I started working on the cooked vanilla cream filling:
- 1-cup sugar
- 4-tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/4-teaspoon salt
- 4-cups of milk
- 4-egg yolks, beaten
- 4-tablespoons butter
- 4-teaspoons vanilla
I had prepared a large bowl filled with ice water and I placed the saucepan into the bowl of water to cool the vanilla filling.
While the oven was still hot, I prepared the top crust. It is constructed almost the same as the bottom crust, except I stacked ten sheets of the pyloh dough (brushed with the melted butter between each layer), then cut the final stack into individual rectangles (2 x 2.5 inches) that will be the final serving sizes. I separated the pieces on the cookie sheet so they didn’t touch each other, and then baked for ten minutes.
The vanilla filling was now cool, so I spread it evenly over the bottom crust in the serving pan and covered the pan with foil and placed it in the refrigerator for an hour to chill.
When everything was cool, I started on the whipped cream filling:
- 1-quart whipping cream
- 1/2-cup sugar
- 1-teaspoon vanilla
I spread the whipped cream over the layer of vanilla cream until it was level with the top of the serving pan (this left about one and a half cups of leftover whipped cream). I placed the individual squares of crust on top of the whipped cream layer; it looks great! I covered the dessert with the aluminum foil and placed it back in the refrigerator to chill until after dinner. I should have dusted the top crust with powdered sugar, but we didn’t have any that I could find, so we went on with out the “snow” dusting.
When I served the pieces by cutting around the individual crust rectangles, I was disappointed that the whipped cream oozed out the sides of the pieces because it was too soft. I next time I will whip it longer or I might even try adding some gelatin to make sure the whipped cream filling is firm and will not spread.
The dessert tasted delicious, and everyone really enjoyed it. The whipped cream nicely balances the full flavor of the vanilla cream and the crust adds a nice crunch. Next time I will make sure that the depth of the whipped cream matches the depth of the vanilla cream for visually aesthetics.
This is an easy dessert to make, and it works best if it is prepared ahead of time. I do recommend only making this dessert when there are plenty of people to eat it to reduce the risk of eating too much.
Adventures In Food: Author: Kerry Howell
Products of Lake Bled, Slovenia