For the syrup:
- Place a pot over medium to high heat. Add the water, sugar, cinnamon stick and lemon rind. Bring to a boil. As soon as the sugar melts, remove from heat and set aside until completely cool.
For the shredded phyllo dough:
- Preheat oven to 180* C (350* F) Fan.
- Combine the milk, sugar, vanilla and lemon zest in a pot. Place over low heat and whisk continuously so that the mixture does not stick to the bottom of the pot, until it comes to a boil.
- Whisk the eggs in a bowl until completely combined, Add the semolina and whisk until incorporated.
- Use a ladle to transfer some of the hot milk mixture to the egg mixture while stirring continuously. Gradually add enough of the hot milk, until the eggs have heated through. When ready, add the egg mixture to the pot with the milk mixture and whisk continuously until the cream has thickened.
- When ready, remove from heat and add the cubes of butter. Stir until the butter has melted. Transfer cream to a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap making sure the wrap is directly touching the surface of the cream so that it does not form a film. Set aside.
- Untangle the shredded phyllo dough with your fingers. Spread it apart and fluff it up making sure there are no knots.
- Grease a 20x30 cm baking pan with butter. Spread half of the shredded phyllo dough on the bottom. It should be about 3 cm thick.
- Brush ½ of the melted butter over the phyllo.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes.
- When ready, remove from oven and set it aside to cool completely.
- Spread the semolina cream over the baked shredded phyllo and cover with the remaining phyllo dough. Brush with the remaining melted butter.
- Lower the oven temperature to 170* C (338* F) and bake again for 35-40 minutes.
- When ready, remove from oven and immediately pour the cooled syrup over it. Set it aside until it is completely cool.
- Serve with toasted almond slivers or crushed pistachio nuts.