Tasty Tuesday: Spring Twist On Greek Favorites

CHARLOTTE, N.C.– In today’s ” Tasty Tuesday”, Chef Mara is back in the Rising kitchen. She is putting a spring twist on some Greek dishes. Check out her recipes for Spring Herb Tzatziki with Homemade Pita Bread and a Lemony Custard Phyllo Pie.

Tzatziki Ingredients

·         2 cups plain yogurt (Greek style)

·         ½ English (hothouse) cucumber, peeled, halved and seeded, shredded

·         Salt, to taste

·         4 garlic cloves, mashed

·         1 T. chopped fresh mint

·         1 T. chopped fresh dill

·         1 Scallion, minced

·         1 T. extra virgin olive oil

·         2 to 3 tsp fresh lemon juice

·         1/4 tsp. honey

·         2-3 dashes hot sauce


1.      Line a sieve with cheesecloth and place over a bowl.  Spoon the yogurt into the sieve and let drain for 4 hours.

2.      Grate or chop enough cucumber to make 1 cup.  Dry the cucumbers on paper towels, salt, and let drain for about 15 minutes.

3.      In a bowl, combine the yogurt, cucumber, garlic, mint, dill, olive oil, and lemon juice.  Stir well.  Taste and season with more salt if needed.

Pie Ingredients

  • 4 cups milk
  • Zest of 1 Lemon
  • 1 tsp. Lemon Extract
  • 1/2 cup fine semolina
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup Salted butter (in Custard)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 package phyllo dough
  • 1 Cup Salted Butter, melted (for Brushing on Phyllo)

Syrup Ingredients

  • 1 cups water
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • ½ lemon
  • 1 ounce vanilla
  • 4 Cardamom pods
  • 2 Cinnamon sticks
  • 4 whole Cloves


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. In a heavy pot, bring the milk to a boil. Sprinkle in the semolina, whisking constantly over very low heat. Add the sugar, then simmer for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring from time to time. Remove from the heat and add the 1/3 cup butter and the eggs, 1 by 1, stirring. Blend in the vanilla.
  3. Butter a deep 10-inch baking pan. In the bottom of the pan, layer 8 sheets of phyllo, leaving the edges hanging over the sides of the pan. Brush each sheet generously with clarified butter. Pour the milk mixture over the phyllo layers.  Cut the remaining sheets of phyllo about the size of the pan and brush each sheet with clarified butter. Place the buttered sheets on top of the filling, then brush the hanging bottom sheets with clarified butter and roll them up to seal.  With a very sharp knife, score the top diagonally in 2 directions to make diamond-shaped slits on the surface. Sprinkle with a little water and bake about 1 hour, or until top is light brown and filling has set.
  4. Simmer the water with sugar and the 1/2 of lemon for about 1 hour. Discard the lemon. Add vanilla, cardamom, cinnamon and cloves to the syrup and allow mixture to steep until cooled.  Once cooled, remove aromatics, and pour over the pie. Cut pie along the score marks.