Along with apple pie, Michael Psilakis’s family devours this custard pie with phyllo crust at Thanksgiving.
Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large saucepan, bring the milk and cream to a simmer over low heat. In a medium bowl, using a whisk or an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the sugar and egg yolks until light and frothy, 2 to 3 minutes. Gradually whisk 1 cup of the warm milk mixture into the egg mixture, then slowly whisk the egg mixture into the milk mixture in the pan. Cook, stirring often, until the mixture thickens, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and salt. Gradually whisk in the semolina; cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 7 minutes. Stir in the lemon zest. Remove from heat.
Brush the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with some of the butter. Place 1 sheet of phyllo on the bottom of the dish; carefully brush with butter. Repeat with 5 more sheets of phyllo, alternately arranging horizontally and then vertically so the phyllo hangs over all four sides. Pour the semolina mixture over the phyllo and fold the overhanging dough over the custard. Place 1 sheet of phyllo on top and gently brush with butter, trimming to fit the dish. Repeat with 5 more sheets of phyllo; trim to fit. Using a sharp knife, score the top, cutting through only the top 6 phyllo layers. (This will make the pie easier to cut once it is baked.)
Bake until the custard is set and the phyllo is browned, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool for 1 hour. Using a sharp knife, cut through the scored phyllo, the custard, and the bottom of the phyllo dough. Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream.