Little Mandarin Orange Pie
(adapted from Slice of Heaven with a tweak from B. Gray)
Combine crumbs, almonds, sugar and melted butter. Press into a 6” pie plate. Bake at 325 degrees for approx. 8-10 minutes. Let it cool completely.
Prepare the filling-
½ cup Trader Joe’s frozen orange juice concentrate, direct from the freezer.
Place this in a small saucepan and reduce over low heat until it is thick and syrupy- it will cook down to about two or three Tablespoons. Take it off the heat set aside.
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
¼ cup sugar
2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
½ cup freshly squeezed Mandarin juice
2 egg yolks
¼ cup heavy cream
Zest from one navel orange
In the top of a double boiler, whisk together the cornstarch, sugar, lemon, lime and Mandarin juices, the whole eggs, the egg yolks and the heavy cream. Place over a simmering double boiler and gently stir with a rubber spatula. You are preparing a custard more than a curd, so don’t beat it to death. It takes a while for the mixture to thicken, be patient. (Alternatively, I have baked this directly in the oven in a pre-baked crust, but that requires pouring a liquid into a pie or tart shell and navigating it into the oven which can prove dicey, depending upon how much caffeine one has consumed.) Now add the reduced orange juice concentrate. When the custard is thick enough to coat the rubber spatula so you can draw your finger through it and it stays put, it’s ready. (Yes, that finger/spatula/line technique really works.) Pour the custard through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl. At this point, add the zest from one orange. A navel orange is preferable to the skin of a Mandarin which tends to be bitter. Give the custard a turn or two and then pour into the cooled pie shell. Cover it with plastic wrap so it doesn’t form a skin and place it in the fridge to cool. When ready to serve, top with fresh berries or canned (!) and drained Mandarin orange slices or whipped cream. Or all three.
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