The first time I made this pie, I followed the original instructions which included the pith and the skin of the oranges and the lemon. And it was oh, so bitter. But in spite of the fact that I do not like bitter orange flavors like marmalade and such, I persisted and ate all of the pie, a small slice per day, until it was gone. Not because I am stubborn, prideful and refuse to let my hard work go to waste (all these points are true), but because of the real reason: the crust was exquisite and shame on anyone who wastes a crisp, flaky homemade pie crust. Shame on them. I created my new recipe based partly on the one for “Shaker Blood Orange Pie” in Art of the Pie by Kate McDermott. Every pie lover should own this book. The beautiful, mouthwatering photos make you want to get up out of your chair and turn on the oven immediately! So, when I found a recipe that would indulge my winter time craving for citrus, especially oranges, I set to work to test it out. But the bitterness of the pith ruined it for me. For those who love the sharp bite of marmalade, you may appreciate the original recipe. But I need something a little bit sweeter. In my new version, I added more orange flesh, left out the pith, and put in an additional egg. The pie crust recipe is my mother, Val’s , a classic in our family and one that I feel is a necessity for any pie that I personally bake. So, if you want something a little sweet nestled inside crispy, flaky crust studded with crunchy sugar on top, try out this version. The sweet/tartness of the blood oranges are perfectly highlighted, without the bitter characteristics of traditional marmalade. No need for stubborn pride to get you through the last slice.
Blood Orange Pie
4 blood oranges
juice of one lemon
2 cups sugar
5 large eggs
pinch of salt
1 recipe double crust pie dough (Val’s recipe follows)
1 egg beaten, mixed with 2 teaspoons water for egg wash
3-4 tablespoons turbinado sugar
Remove the zest from 2 of the blood oranges, being careful not to include any of the white pith. Place in a large bowl. Using a sharp knife, remove the skin and the pith from each orange. Slice the orange flesh and chop into small pieces, removing any seeds and the middle white piece. Add the chopped orange flesh and any remaining juices to the bowl. Squeeze the juice of one lemon into the bowl. Add 2 cups sugar and stir to combine. Allow mixture to sit while you make the pie crust. See recipe below.
While the pie crust rests in the refrigerator, strain the juice from the orange mixture into a mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Add the eggs and pinch of salt. Mix on medium high for up to 3 minutes to combine, then remove bowl from stand mixer and add chopped orange pieces to eggs and juice.
Roll out bottom half of pie crust on a well floured board. Place pie crust in pie plate. Pour orange mixture into bottom crust. Roll out top crust and gently lay it on top. Trim around the edges of the two crusts, leaving at least 1/2 inch of pie crust to roll into the center and crimp the edges. Brush top of crust and edge of pie with egg wash. Cut about 4 slits in the top of the pie to allow steam to escape. Place pie on a rimmed baking sheet and bake in the oven on 450 degrees for 15 minutes. Turn down the oven to 375 degrees for 25 more minutes. If the pie is beginning to brown too much on the edges, make a tin foil cover by folding a large square of foil in half and cutting a half circle large enough to reveal the top of the pie but small enough to cover the edges.
Gently secure around the pie and continue baking until there are 10 minutes left. With 10 minutes left of the baking time, remove pie, sprinkle top with turbinado sugar and place back in the oven for the remaining 10 minutes. Finally, remove the pie and place on a wire rack to cool for 6 hours or overnight to completely set before slicing.
Val’s Pie Crust
(makes enough for one double crust pie)
2 cups flour, plus extra for rolling out
2/3 cup Crisco
4 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into teaspoon size pieces
pinch of salt
1/2 cup cold water
Place 2 cups flour, Crisco, butter and salt in a large mixing bowl. Using a pastry cutter, work the ingredients together until small, pea size pieces form. Form a small hole in the middle of the mixture and begin to pour 1/4 cup of water into it. Blend mixture with a fork. Add more water and continue blending until mixture begins to clump together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Do not overwork mixture!
Form 2 rounds, one slightly larger than the other (for the bottom of the pie). Wrap each round in plastic wrap and allow to rest in refrigerator for up to 15 minutes.
Remove larger round and roll out using a circular motion on a lightly floured board until it is large enough to fill and hang over the edge or the pie plate. Fill according to recipe. Roll out smaller round for top on a lightly floured board using the same method. Lay the rolled out pie dough on top, trim the edges, roll up edge and crimp. Bake according to recipe directions.