This recipe was submitted by Carolie de Koster as part of the reader recipe competition calling for a special occasion dessert. A breathtaking dessert which has to be experienced to appreciate the name! Be sure to make extra for some will need a second round of this dessert!
Custard and caramel and nut syrup
- Preheat the oven to 180°C. Fold the 4 sheets of filo pastry simultaneously in half lengthwise, press down lightly, unfold and cut through the fold line with a sharp non-serrated knife. Place the 8 wide strips on top of each other, fold in half again and cut in the same way to obtain 16 strips. Stack the strips.
- Fold the strips simultaneously in half lengthwise, unfold, press down lightly and cut in half on the fold line. Pile the shorter strips on top of each other and fold and cut once more to obtain 64 squares. Stack the squares and cover with a cloth until ready to bake.
- Brush two baking tray with melted butter. Place as many of the squares as will fit comfortably, onto the baking tray. Brush lightly with butter and cover each square with a second square, brush again and add a third square. Continue until all the triple-layered squares are made – 20 will be used for the recipe.
- Bake at for 4 - 5 minutes or until pale golden (biscuit colour). Watch carefully while baling to make sure that the pastry squares do not brown too much for it will spoil the taste and appearance. Cool and set aside to use or pack carefully in an airtight container until required or store in the pantry up to a month.
- To make the poached meringue and custard filling, pour the milk into a large shallow saucepan and heat gently to just below boiling point.
- Meanwhile, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar (to stabilise the meringue) until quite firm and gradually beat in the sugar to obtain a stiff meringue. Dip an oval shaped tablespoon into the hot milk, scoop out neat rounded spoonfuls of the meringue and place into the hot milk. Take care that the milk does not reach boiling point at any stage for the meringue will separate and curdle in the milk.
- Poach the meringue about 2 minutes on a side or until each floating meringue sets and gently expands in the hot milk. Turn over and poach 2 minutes more. Place the poached meringue into a colander to drain. Return the drained milk to the saucepan to make custard. If the poached meringue is not used within a short time, place in an airtight container, refrigerate until required or for two days.
- Beat together the egg yolks, whole eggs, sugar, cornflour, salt, 1/3 cup (75 ml) milk and flavouring and add a little of the hot milk to the mixture. Return to the saucepan and bring to boil, stirring constantly. Turn down the heat and cook 2 - 3 minutes more or until thick and bubbly. Pour into a bowl, cover with a cloth and cool until required or refrigerate for a day or two until ready to assemble.
- Prepare the caramel and nut syrup. Place the oil and nuts into a saucepan and heat to moderately hot, stirring continually until the nuts turn pale golden. Add the sugar and cook about 3 minutes, stirring until the sugar dissolves and starts to caramelise. Remove from heat as soon as the caramel is golden brown and add the water. Stir until sugar has dissolved, add the honey or syrup and flavouring. Bring to boil, simmer 2-3 minutes to reduce slightly and become syrupy. Set aside until ready to use or pour into a container, seal and store for a day or two.
- When ready to serve, place one triple layered filo square onto each individual plate or place 10 stacks of 3 of the baked squares onto a large serving platter. Divide the custard between the squares and spoon the poached meringue on top. Cover the filling with another baked triple layer of fried filo squares and place a spoonful of cream on top. Drizzle the caramel and nut syrup decoratively over each assembled fantasy and serve within 15 minutes of assembling.