Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Cutie Pie

You're probably wondering where I've been.  No place fantastic, unfortunately.  I've just been busy.  The holidays, work (during the holidays!!), moving to a new house... You know, life stuff.  I really did plan on delving deep into holiday pies for the blog, but I never made it past the Cranberry Meringue pie.  Oh well.

So I was staring at our box of Cuties (California clementines, my winter favorite) the other day and it hit me, Cutie Pie!!  Damn, I am so clever I practically can't stand myself.  In my mind cutie pie looked like a fluffy mousse-like cloud, decorated with cutie segments.  Oh yes, it will be mine.

I found some recipes for clementine pies on the internet to inspire me.  I ended up making a clementine curd (based on the fruit curd master recipe in The Pie and Pastry Bible, by Rose Levy Beranbaum.).  To the hot curd I stirred in gelatin and after the mixture cooled, I added heavy cream and whipped it up.  Perfection!  Sweet, a tiny bit tart, creamy and fluffy, my Cutie Pie is the picture of perfection!  Not a bad comeback, I'd say.

Cutie Pie
1 graham cracker crust, store-bought or your own
1 cup freshly squeezed clementine juice (I use Cutie brand)
Zest of 4 clementines
2 Tb. lemon juice
1 packet unflavored gelatin
heavy pinch of salt
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
4 Tb. butter

1 cup heavy cream
2 Tb. sugar
clementine or mandarin orange segments for garnish, blot dry on a paper towel

Stir the gelatin into the lemon juice and set aside to let bloom.  In a small, heavy pot combine the sugar and egg yolks, whisking well to combine.  Stir in the clementine juice, salt and butter.  Set the pot over medium heat and cook ,whisking constantly, until the mixture is thickened and coats the back of a spoon.  Be careful not to get it too hot, or your eggs will scramble.  Add in the gelatin and zest, stir until the gelatin is dissolved.  Scrape the mixture into a bowl and refrigerate until the curd is thickened and partially set.

Put the clementine curd into the bowl of a stand mixer.  Add one cup of heavy cream and whip on high speed until the mixture is smooth and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes (this may take more or less time depending on the how cold and set the curd is).  The mixture is still not fully set at this point, so don't worry if it seems a little soft.  Pour the mousse into the prepared pie crust and smooth the top.  Refrigerate until set, about 2 or 3 more hours.

Whip the heavy cream and sugar to stiff peaks.  Decorate the top of your Cutie Pie as desired with whipped cream and orange segments.  Enjoy the sweet, creamy goodness!

Start with some beautiful clementines.
Make a delicious clementine curd.

When it's thick and looks like this when you stir it up, whip it with heavy cream.

Pour into a pie shell and refrigerate until set.

Cutie Pie!
Sweet, creamy citrus.  So beautiful and delicious.

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