1 pound phyllo dough, thawed and at room temperature (#4 is best)
1/2 pound unsalted butter, melted
4 cups milk
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup fine semolina
3 tablespoons corn starch
2 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
zest of an orange
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
For the syrup:
1 and 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup honey
1 cup water
3 tablespoons orange juice
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Beat the eggs, yolks, sugar, salt, semolina, and corn starch until thick and pale yellow. About 3 minutes.
In the meantime warm up the milk in a saucepan until scalding hot.
Temper the egg mixture by adding some hot milk and whisking well.
Add the egg mixture to the milk in the saucepan and cook over low heat while continuously stirring until it thickens.
Remove from heat and add vanilla extract and about 2 tablespoons of the melted butter, and the orange zest. Mix well to incorporate and set aside.
Brush some butter all over a deep dish pie pan that measures 9-10 inches in diameter.
Place a stack of four sheets of phyllo into the pie pan making sure that the inside bottom of the pan is covered and the remaining is hanging over the side of the pan. Drizzle some butter over the phyllo and repeat this step going around the pan three more times, buttering each stack as you go.
Pour the custard filling in the center and fold the phyllo sheets hanging over the sides on top of the filling drizzling each stack with butter.
Place another stack of four sheets on top and tuck the excess phyllo into the sides of pan. Drizzle with more butter. Do the same with the final remaining sheets of phyllo.
Scour the pie into 8 slices or more if you will be serving smaller pieces. Try not to cut all the way down to the cream.
Pour all of the remaining butter on top and brush the sides of the phyllo as well.
Place the pie onto a baking sheet to make it easier and safer to transfer from the oven.
Bake for 45 - 60 minutes or until the pie is a deep golden color.
While the pie is baking, make the syrup.
In a saucepan, combine the sugar, water and orange juice. Stir well and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and pour the honey into the syrup. Mix well until incorporated.
Set aside to cool completely. The syrup must be cold when poured over the hot pie so that way the phyllo stays nice and crisp.
As soon as the pie comes out of the oven, slice over the scoured marks all the way down to the bottom. Pour all of the syrup over the pie. Sprinkle a generous amount of cinnamon on top and set aside for at least 30 minutes.
Note: The pie must rest a bit before cutting so that it has time to set. If it is cut and served right away all of the custard will ooze out and it will look like a big mess.