Zest 2 of the blood oranges and set aside. Using a sharp knife, peel and slice all the oranges crosswise into rounds or fun shapes as you like. Set aside on paper towels to drain.
Cream Cheese Pie with Blood Orange Slices
March 20, 2011 · 27 Comments
I used my Japanese chef’s knife to cut the rind off these little blood oranges in five slices and I think that the resulting squared off shape is kind of cool and other worldly. I wanted to say ‘other fruitly’, even though it’s not a real word, because in some respects these fruit slices look like an entirely different kind of fruit never seen before on this planet. These intensely colored blood orange slices contribute their unique flavor and health benefits to each slice of my sweet cream cheese pie. The season for blood oranges in California runs from November to May so now that we’re more than half way through the season, I think there’s no time like the present to feature California blood orange slices in a recipe. Blood oranges are grown in coastal southern California regions but originated in either China or the southern Mediterranean where they are enjoyed for their strong sweet orange flavor with a hint of raspberry. Their crimson color comes from a family of pigments common to many flowers but uncommon in citrus fruits. They are known for being high in vitamin C, potassium, carotene, dietary fiber and to have extensive health benefits. The first time I tatsed a blood orange was in Amsterdam 40 years ago. I remember that they were highly prized and being told that they came from Spain. They were commonly juiced for breakfast but now are used in all kinds of things like syrups, cocktails, sorbets and salad dressings. I think that the slices of blood orange contribute freshness, flavor, texture and an unusual look to my cream cheese pie but consider this pie covered with Mandarin orange slices, I know my grandchildren would love it that way.
Ingredients and Directions for Cream Cheese Pie with Blood Orange Slices
Adapted from Williams -Sonoma ‘Pie & Tart’
1-2 lbs blood oranges
1/2 lb full fat cream cheese
1 14 fl oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3 tablespoons fresh strained lemon juice
1 gingersnap cookie crumb crust, see recipe below
In a stand mixer on medium speed beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the condensed milk, zest and vanilla. Beat until smooth and stir in the lemon juice. Pour the mixture into the prepared crumb crust, smooth out the top and arrange the blood orange slices, slightly overlapping them in a decorative pattern.
Note: I put the cream cheese pie in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes to firm up the filling before I layered on the blood orange slices.
Refrigerate the pie until chilled at least one hour before serving.
Gingersnap Cookie Crust
Preheat the oven to 350F
1 & 1/4 cups of gingersnap cookie crumbs, finely ground
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons sugar
In a medium bowl combine the cookie crumbs, melted butter and sugar, stir until the crumbs are moistened. Press the mixture firmly and evenly into the bottom and sides of a 9 inch glass pie plate. Bake until firm about 8 minutes. Place on rack to cool.
Makes 8 slices.