Friday, January 18, 2013

Friday Pie-Day: Robert E. Lee's Orange Pie

I will be honest: this pie did not turn out as yummy as we hoped. This was made January 2012, and I think the main lesson we learned is that our family does not prefer custard pies. However, I share it here to document our pies, learn from our mistakes, and to share the recipe with people who may like custards.

I was so excited for orange – I love orange cakes, orange jello, orange cookies, orange frosting. Our family greatly enjoys the oranges and nectarines we grow in our backyard, and it’s exciting to be able to make a fruit pie in the winter, because even in Florida, not many fruits are in season in January. But alas, either I did not follow the recipe close enough, or I just didn’t care for the taste.

our family with the tangerine tree in our backyard, January 1998

Here were the ingredients (flour and sugar in the large containers in the back).

It was simple enough. Separating eggs is fun, especially when you have a fun egg separator like we do!

We beat the yolks and sugar together until it is “thick and lemon colored.”

And then everything else gets mixed together… Zesting oranges is so much fun – I love the way it smells!

The original recipe called for a meringue topping, but I thought I’d follow the advice of several commenters and go without. So instead we doubled the filling. That was a mistake – it overflowed and baked onto the pan, leaving a crusty residue. At least we thought to put the cookie sheet underneath!

That, however, caused it to bake slower, so we ended up keeping it in the oven for a while longer than it said. We added some brown sugar on top toward the end, which caramelized nicely as the pie finished baking. I did love the orange slices on top of the pie, but it just tasted too eggy and custardy for me.

The meringue probably would have balanced out the flavor a little more, but I think we would do better with more of a jello-based orange pie. Oh well, live and learn!

Robert E. Lee’s Orange Pie (recipe from All Recipes)

9 inch (graham cracker) crust

3 egg yolks, beaten

½ cup white sugar

2 tbsp. flour

1 tbsp. butter, melted

1 tbsp. grated orange zest

1 cup orange juice

Optional meringue topping: (if not making meringue, double ingredients above for filling)

3 egg whites

6 tbsp. white sugar

1 large orange, sliced in rounds, to garnish

1 tbsp. brown sugar (optional – if no meringue)

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. In medium bowl, beat together egg yolks and sugar til mixture is thick and lemon colored.
  3. Add flour, melted butter, grated orange rind, and orange juice.
  4. Mix thoroughly, then pour into pie crust.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.
  6. Reduce heat to 350 and bake an additional 25 minutes, til custard is set.
  7. If adding meringue: In large metal or glass mixing bowl, beat egg whites til foamy. Gradually add in sugar, continuing to beat until whites form stiff peaks. Spread meringue over pie, covering completely. Return to oven for 10 minutes, til meringue is golden brown.
  8. Cool before serving; garnish with orange slices and sprinkle sugar on top (caramelize).

And may you have better success than we did! :)

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