Monday, January 30, 2017

Orange Juice Pie Recipe

You probably thought this was a fake title to get you to read another crackpot political screed, but no, this post is really a pie recipe.

I've always liked lemon pie and key lime pie, and wondered if other citrus fruits would work too. Well, oranges do! But orange juice is a lot sweeter and less tart than lemon or lime juice, so you can't just go swapping out lemon juice for orange juice on a one-to-one basis. You would end up with essentially a very watery sugar pie.

Here's how I made an orange juice pie that has good consistency and lots of orange flavor.

1 completely baked and cooled 9-inch pie shell. My wife makes an excellent pie crust from the basic Cook's Illustrated recipe and that's what we used here. If you really want to go hardcore, make a lard-based crust.


2 c. orange juice. Plain old from-concentrate juice will work fine; the juice is going to get cooked anyway, so don't mess around with fresh-squeezed or premium.

3/4 c. white granulated sugar

1/4 c. cornstarch

1/8 tsp. salt

6 large egg yolks (Save the whites if you want to make meringue)

Zest of a medium orange. A microplane is the best tool for zesting. Only scrape off the outer orange stuff, not the inner white stuff.

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

In a heavy saucepan, bring 1 1/2 c. of the juice, plus the sugar, cornstarch and salt to a simmer (very slowly bubbling) over medium heat, whisking constantly. The mixture will eventually thicken and expand. When this happens, whisk in the egg yolks, two at a time. Then whisk in the orange zest, the butter and the remaining 1/2 c. of juice. Whisk as much as you think you need to, then whisk some more, or else you'll get lumps. As soon as the butter is melted and the mixture slightly bubbles again, remove from heat and pour into the pie shell. Cover with plastic wrap and let cool to room temperature on the counter, then chill in the refrigerator for about an hour and a half.

If you like meringue, top with meringue and finish with a torch or under the broiler. If you use the broiler to singe the meringue, you'll probably have to put the pie back in the refrigerator for a little while to chill it back down.

If it's for a party or a contest or something, use a sharp knife to peel off some skinny strips of orange peel and garnish the top of the pie with it.

I took a picture of my pie, but it's the day after it was made and it's mostly eaten and kind of beat up, so I'm not posting it. The pie looks pretty much exactly like you would expect. Any kind of citrus pie really needs to be eaten within 24 hours or else the meringue starts to weep and the filling gets syrupy.

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