19 May 2010
Blood Orange Creamsicle Pie
Moving in together is a funny thing. No matter how much time you've spent together before, there's always an adjustment to be made. You'll argue over whose bed stays or goes, discover his secret stash of books on game theory (I'm not kidding people). You learn things like never, never disturb Paul while he's napping. Trust me, a man awoken from a nap prematurely is not a good thing for anyone involved. I want to hide under the covers just thinking about it. But at the end of it all, if you're lucky, you'll discover that you get to come home to that person everyday, and that in itself is pretty awesome.
With Paul, I discovered that all of a sudden there is this person here who wants to cook with me, and whom I can cook for. Cooking for two is way more fun than cooking for one, and Paul is always asking questions like, "why is this considered a ragu," and "what's the difference between fennel and anise." I like this because it challenges some of my assumptions about cooking.
We were discussing key lime pie, and how you could make it with any citrus, say lemon or blood orange or yuzu. I like doing this a lot, taking a base recipe and changing the flavoring ingredients. So I decided to try the blood orange version, only using a classic French technique, and made a lose custard that could be turned into a frozen pie. And it's delicious, it cool and creamy and a little bit tangy. It's almost as good as a nap, just don't disturb me while I'm eating it.
Blood Orange Creamsicle Pie
1 graham cracker crust, baked
1 cup sugar
finely grated zest of 2 blood oranges
4 large eggs
3/4 cup freshly squeezed blood orange juice
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into tablespoon-sized pieces
1. Put the sugar and zest in a large metal bowl that can be fitted into the pan of simmering water. Off heat, work the sugar and zest together between your fingers until the sugar is moist, grainy and very aromatic. Whisk in the eggs followed by the juice.
2. Set a pan of water to boil. Fit the bowl into the pan (make certain the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl) and cook, stirring with the whisk as soon as the mixture feels tepid to the touch. (if you're using a thermometer 180°F). As you whisk the cream over heat—and you must whisk constantly to keep the eggs from scrambling—you’ll see that the cream will start out light and foamy, then the bubbles will get bigger, and then it will start to thicken and the whisk will leave tracks. Heads up at this point—the tracks mean the cream is almost ready. Don’t stop whisking and don’t stop checking the temperature. And have patience—depending on how much heat you’re giving the cream, getting to temp can take as long as 10 minutes.
3. As soon as you reach 180°F, pull the cream from the heat and transfer it into the container of a blender (or food processor); discard the zest. Let the cream rest at room temperature, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.
4. Turn the blender to high and, with the machine going, add about 5 pieces of butter at a time. Scrape down the sides of the container as needed while you’re incorporating the butter. Once the butter is in, keep the machine going—to get the perfect light, airy texture you must continue to beat the cream for another 3 minutes. If your machine protests and gets a bit too hot, work in 1-minute intervals, giving the machine a little rest between beats.
5. Transfer the orange cream to the refrigerator and let cool completely. It should set up considerably in the fridge. Pour until the crust and place in the freezer for several hours, until frozen.
6. To serve, remove the pie from the freezer about 15 minutes before you want to serve it (depending on the outdoor temperature, more or less time may be needed). Serve in wedges, store in the freezer.