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baking dessert pies + tarts

blood orange pie

Monday, February 4, 2013
[Note: this is a re-post, again. I know, tacky. But! I love this pie, and the original post contained photos that made me cringe. So, when I had a chance to remake this pie, I decided to take some new photos, too.]

So, I’m on this blood orange kick. I keep buying bags of them, cutting them open one by one, just to see their pretty purple pieces stare back at me. I’ve eaten so many, hoping for inspiration, something new I can make with them. And then the idea came one afternoon, as I was scrubbing purple juice off my hands: blood orange pie. I am crazy about key lime pie – could I just trade some orange juice and zest and make some sassy dessert?

Yes, yes I could. And when I took my first bite, my mind immediately went to humid summer evenings, where my sister and I were tucked downstairs in the only corner of our house that was cool. There, stashed in the freezer, was a box of orange dreamsicles; our perfect summer treat. We would eat them slowly, the cold ice cream helping us momentarily forget our friend’s air conditioned homes where sleep came easy.

Blood Orange Pie
This recipe is adapted from America’s Test Kitchen’s recipe for Key Lime Pie. I tweaked it a bit – added vanilla and, of course, blood oranges. You could use regular oranges as well, if you can’t find blood oranges. Don’t worry about the color of the filling as you mix it with the sweetened condensed milk – it may look a little purplish-grayish, but I found it turned a nice rusty orange when the filling had set. You could always add a drop or two of food coloring if you want it to be a vibrant orange.

In the pie in the photos above I used homemade graham crackers – they were made with graham and teff flour, and are much darker than normal ones. I didn’t prefer them- the crust didn’t bake up quite right and was a tiny bit soggy. I would suggest store bought here. Also, I didn’t serve the pie with the blood orange slices – I highly recommend a pile of whipped cream on top, to balance the flavors.

blood orange filling
1 tablespoon grated blood orange zest
1/2 cup strained blood orange juice
4 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 [14 ounce] can of sweetened condensed milk

Whisk (by hand) the zest and yolks in a bowl until tinted light orange, about 2 minutes. Whisk  in the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, then orange juice; set aside at room temperature to thicken.

graham cracker crust
11 full sized graham crackers, processed to fine crumbs [1 1/4 cups]
3 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Adjust oven rack to center position and heat to 325. Mix graham cracker crumbs and sugar together. Add butter, and stir until well blended. Put the mixture into a 9 inch pie plate. Press crumbs evenly on bottom and up sides of the plate. Refrigerate crumbs for 20 minutes. Bake until lightly browned and fragrant, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool slightly.

Pour blood orange mixture into the warm crust, and bake until center is set but still wiggly when jiggled, 14-17 minutes.  Return pie to wire rack and let cool. Refrigerate until well chilled, at least 3 hours.

whipped cream
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, chilled
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Add cream, vanilla and sugar to a chilled mixer bowl. Beat on low speed until small bubbles form, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium and and continue beating, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to high and continue beating until cream is smooth, thick, and nearly double in volume, and 30 seconds. Spread whipped cream on chilled pie and serve.

  • Reply
    Megan
    Monday, February 4, 2013 at 9:24 pm

    This sounds delicious. Lovely photos!

  • Reply
    Tartlet Sweets
    Tuesday, February 5, 2013 at 12:10 am

    Such a beautiful pie! I, too, love blood oranges. They’re so pretty. Probably my favorite winter citrus next to grapefruit.

  • Reply
    nuesselkram
    Tuesday, February 5, 2013 at 7:21 am

    Mhhh, looks delicious!

    Liebe Grüße Trina ?

  • Reply
    Monika
    Tuesday, February 5, 2013 at 8:18 am

    I love this photos!and this pie:)

  • Reply
    Zoe
    Tuesday, February 5, 2013 at 8:41 am

    I love how you can’t help yourself but redo the photos…I am desperate to do the same! So good to know we can get better at this stuff right? Keep them coming! Zoe

  • Reply
    Jenny @ BAKE
    Tuesday, February 5, 2013 at 9:02 am

    beautiful photographs!

  • Reply
    london bakes
    Tuesday, February 5, 2013 at 7:54 pm

    Just beautiful (I feel like I always say that but it’s true)

  • Reply
    Eileen
    Tuesday, February 5, 2013 at 10:54 pm

    Blood orange is the one citrus fruit I haven’t had yet this season. To the farmer’s market! 🙂 This pie sounds so bright and fresh!

  • Reply
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
    Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    Whoa. This pie is all kinds of amazing!

  • Reply
    Laura
    Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    Oh my. That shot of the pie on the stand with the completely dreamy cloud of cream and perfectly translucent slices of blood orange on top is so beautiful. This sounds like a nice respite from the harshness of winter. I can’t stop buying the blood oranges either. Every time I cut one open, there’s a solid 5 seconds of pure delight. Just amazing.

  • Reply
    vanillasugarblog
    Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 1:41 am

    you know i’ve thought about doing a re-post of popular recipes i’ve created
    i mean why not?
    if they are that good i’d hate for people to miss out
    good thinking!

  • Reply
    thelittleloaf
    Friday, February 8, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    I adore blood oranges and wish there were more dishes that would convey their incredible deep blood red colour. Having said that, this still looks utterly wonderful so I’m not complaining 🙂

  • Reply
    Kathryne
    Sunday, February 10, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    Repost or not, this pie is lovely, Sarah. Those pictures are making me wish that a slice would materialize as a mid-afternoon snack.

  • Reply
    Aviv Lubell
    Thursday, February 14, 2013 at 7:50 pm

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Reply
    Aviv Lubell
    Thursday, February 14, 2013 at 7:52 pm

    Beautiful pictures, if the pie tastes half as good as the images look I’ll be very very happy. Cannot wait to try this out with our homemade vanilla extract.

  • Reply
    Sara Schultz
    Monday, March 4, 2013 at 7:29 am

    I HAVE to make this! Not kidding. I’ll be back within a week or so to let you know how it goes. I’m gonna try to pick up some blood oranges from the farmer’s market this weekend for it.

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    LaurenB.
    Tuesday, February 3, 2015 at 7:35 pm

    Just tried to make this pie for my husband’s birthday but it would not firm up and was a soupy mess. I followed the directions but they are not clear as to what the consistency of the egg white and orange zest mixture is supposed to be: soft peak, firm peak, or something else? I blended on high until it was foamy and “tinted light orange” like in the directions but it was not firm at all. I mixed in the rest of the ingredients for the filling and let it sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes but that did not thicken either. After the initial time in the 325 degree oven I did an additional 10 minutes at 350 but it just stayed super runny and did not firm up in the least. We had to trow it out. I looked at the key lime recipe and in the pictures it looks like the filling, I’m assuming since it looks green, is very thick and fluffy but neither set of directions specify a long enough beating time nor describe a consistency like that is supposed to be reached. I want to make this recipe but it seems like it is missing steps. What is the filling supposed to look like/is there a missing step/ingredient?

    • Reply
      Sarah
      Wednesday, February 4, 2015 at 9:54 am

      Lauren – You mention using eggs whites, but it is just the yolks that are to be used. Egg whites will make this an entirely different pie, and would account for the runny-ness. Also, I should have stated ‘whisk by hand’ – in recipes I specify if you need a machine for blending, by whisking I mean just using a whisk and a hand. But I see that should have been more clear! So sorry about that and I’ll change it.

  • Reply
    Julie
    Saturday, February 28, 2015 at 9:45 pm

    Hi. I made this, and it didn’t set properly. I triple-checked the ingredients and let it bake a bit longer. I hand whisked the eggs and zest. I hand whisked everything else too. Should I have used my machine or my beaters once I added everything else? Leaving it out didn’t thicken it at all…

    • Reply
      Sarah
      Saturday, February 28, 2015 at 10:32 pm

      Hi Julie, I’m sorry you had problems with the pie! You don’t need to beat it with a machine/beaters, just with your hand/whisk. The orange/sweetened condensed milk mixture thickens slightly while it sits. You mention whisking eggs and zest- did you just use the yolks?

      • Reply
        Julie
        Sunday, March 1, 2015 at 12:32 pm

        I did just use the yolks. I’m not sure what happened.

  • Reply
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  • Reply
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