Contest-Winning Pie

On a last minute whim I decided to enter a local pie contest. I don’t often make pies so I scoured the internet looking for ideas. I knew that the pie was going to have to be a little non-traditional to get the judge’s attention – since it was the beginning of fall I figured there’d be a sea of apple, sweet potato, and pumpkin type pies. Good thing I decided to be different because this pie won me first place and a nice chunk of cash!

Greek Honey Nut Pie (think Baklava!)

Ingredients

  • 4 cups chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 package (16 ounces, 14-inch x 9-inch sheet size) frozen phyllo dough, thawed
  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • SYRUP:
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Confectioners’ sugar, lemon peel strips and additional honey

Directions

  • In a large bowl, combine the walnuts, brown sugar and cinnamon; set aside.
  • Place a sheet of phyllo dough in a greased 9-in. pie plate; brush with butter. (Keep remaining phyllo covered with plastic wrap and a damp towel to prevent it from drying out.) Repeat seven times. Sprinkle 1-1/3 cups nut mixture into crust.
  • Place a sheet of phyllo over nut mixture; brush with butter. Repeat three times. Sprinkle with 1-1/3 cups nut mixture. Layer with another sheet of phyllo; brush with butter. Repeat three times. Sprinkle with remaining nut mixture.
  • Top with a sheet of phyllo; brush with butter. Repeat seven times. Fold ends up onto top of pie; brush with butter.
  • Using a sharp knife, score pie into eight pieces. Cut a remaining phyllo sheet into thin strips and roll into rose shapes; arrange on top. Save remaining phyllo dough for another use.
  • Bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, combine the sugar, water and honey; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Add vanilla. Pour over warm pie. Cool on a wire rack. Garnish with confectioner’s sugar, lemon peel and additional honey. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 8 servings.

Thoughts about this pie: When you think you’re going to make it WAY too sweet by adding so much of the honey, sugar, water mixture, don’t be alarmed. It helps keep it from getting too dry. The pie was easy to make – just nice and repetitive to assemble.

Here’s a picture of some of the competition:

And here I am with the judges after being announced the winner!

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