Pumpkin Apple Chai Spiced Ruffled Milk Pie

I can’t even tell you how long it’s been since I wanted to make a ruffled milk pie. Like maybe, FOREVER? Has anyone ever heard of this type of dessert? It’s simple, sweet and made with spirals of phyllo dough, milk, sugar, eggs, and a touch of vanilla.

Now, a little history on me, k?

My first career was in the dental field. I started working for my brother (who is still practicing dentistry btw) in 1979. YES, you heard me right, I’m older than dirt. I have no idea why I wanted to sit around all day with my face staring down into an oral cavity, but I did so for 22 years. I followed in my both my father’s and brothers footsteps when I chose this path. I’m not gonna lie, there were pros and cons to this job. CON: It was yucky. PRO: I didn’t have to think about what to wear everyday – scrubs and a lab coat were my OOTD (outfit of the day). CON: People were usually not thrilled coming to the dentist, so we always had to work on the fact that they needed to believe that the DRILL was their friend. PRO: I was able to work alongside my brother who I love to the moon and back – AND he’s really funny too. CON: It was yucky. (Did I say that already?) PRO: It PAID the bills.

BIG FAT PRO: His office was and still is located on the Danforth (A.K.A. GREEK TOWN) here in Toronto. One of the best things about working in this area was the abundance of amazing restaurants sprinkled along the street. My absolute favourite treat to buy was big piece of Galatopita, (a pie made with milk, or in other words, baked custard pie). The layers of phyllo dough coupled with the creamy, custard centre that is just undeniably the best thing ever created. In fact, I believe it was developed by the Greek God, “Hestia“. Not really, sure about this fact, but someone “Godly” and “Greek” must have had something to do with this recipe.

Let me just say, I’ve had my good share of Greek pastries but have never come across anything so beautiful as this “ruffled milk pie”. Not only does it look stunning, the flavours mimic the same pastry that I had stuffed into my face wayyyyyyyyy too many times during my tenure on the Danforth.

My recipe has a combination of Fall inspired ingredients plus I loved the fact that the base of this custard is made with milk.  Milk is the key to many delicious recipes and did you know that it is the original “superfood”? There is virtually nothing that milk can’t do. Packed with essential nutrients and an inspiration for this recipe, milk is truly the shining star in this ruffled pie.

This specific pie is cooked in a milk based custard with cinnamon and sugar. Traditionally, there is no pumpkin, apple or an over abundance of spices involved, but if you know me well enough, I like to think way outside of the box when it comes to recipe development. And that usually means, I’m using whatever I have in the pantry that needs to be used before it goes “bye, bye”!

Oh ya, does this look complicated to you? It’s really not. Even though I have a BIG fear of working with phyllo dough, I didn’t have any issues performing the magic of ruffling here.

I just used the boxed phyllo dough (thawed) from the freezer section of the supermarket, brushed it with butter, rolled it up and I was good to go. It might look tricky process, but it’s super easy and took me no time to do at all. My goal was to have it taste like a cross between a pumpkin and apple pie, married with a blend of spices, mimicking my favourite Chai tea. I mean, come on with this.

I know what you’re thinking (because I think I always can read your mind).

Can you put all kinds of stuff inside the dough to make it unique? One hundred percent, YES.  If fact, I want to make this again in the spring or summer and use fresh, seasonal berries as a filling. Just make sure to use two sheets of butter phyllo dough instead of one to make the rolls. Or you can skip the individual rolls and simply make spirals from each sheet of dough. Check out Martha Stewart’s video to see how it’s done here. Does that not sound divine? Uh huh. At this very moment, my imagination is running wild with all the combos I could put into these cute little ruffly ruffles.

Once you have the rolls all assembled and lined up in the baking pan, you will need to pre-bake them to get the phyllo dough crisp before adding the custard base.

Quick note, these rolls are baked twice, then you make your custard filling, pour it over the baked dough and bake it again. Even though it’s a double baking process, it’s still not difficult to do. Just be patient and then reap the benefits of THIS……….

A perfectly yummy, crispy and delicately beautiful dessert to serve to guests laden the all aromas of Fall.

Pumpkin Apple Chai Spiced Ruffled Milk Pie
  • 8 - 10 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1½ cups milk (can use any milk here but I used WHOLE FAT)
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup of pure pumpkin puree (do not use pumpkin pie filling)
  • ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce (I used homemade pink but feel free to use any applesauce)
  • ½ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ⅛ tsp cardamom
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp fresh ground nutmeg
  • ⅛ tsp ground cloves
  • Powdered sugar for garnish, optional
  1. Preheat your oven to 350F. Brush a 9" round or 8" x 8" square cake pan lightly with melted butter and line with a sheet of parchment that is large enough to come up the sides of the baking pan. Lightly brush the parchment paper with butter.
  2. Place 1 sheet of phyllo dough on a clean surface and brush it with a light coat of melted butter. Use your fingers to scrunch up the phyllo long ways, into a loose ruffled strip. Make sure it's not rolled tightly or the phyllo will bake up and be too doughy!
  3. Don't be concerned if the dough tears a bit, no one will ever notice. Place each roll into your prepared pan and repeat with the rest of the phyllo dough until your pan is filled. You should have about 8-10 spirals depending on the size of your phyllo dough sheets.
  4. Brush the tops of the spirals with the remaining butter and bake 20-25 minutes until the phyllo is nice and golden brown in colour.
  5. While the phyllo is baking, prepare the custard by whisking together the milk, cornstarch, pumpkin, applesauce, vanilla, spices and sugar.
  6. Remove the pan from the oven and pour the custard mixture over the phyllo spirals. Return pan to the oven and bake another 20-25 minutes or until the custard is set in the center.
  7. Let cool for 15 minutes, then lift from the pan and serve dusted with powdered sugar. This is best served warm with a dollop of whipped cream or a little sprinkle of cinnamon. If there are any leftovers, you can store it in the fridge for up to 3 days and miraculously, it will still be just as delish.


*disclaimer – Product for this post was provided by the Dairy Farmers of Ontario. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep Simply Beautiful Eating in the kitchen! @ontariodairy #InspiredByDairy

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