Finally I am learning about those bumpy ugly oranges I think I first saw on the ground in the yard at the Oldest House in St. Augustine, Florida some years ago. My sister-in-law picked them up, hoping to eat them. Oh, no I told her. They are bitter, best put in the trash or left to decorate the ground. Now I discover there is more to that bumpy discolored orange than I knew.
I learn that a favorite restaurant (one I was unable to visit on the Florida trip this year) The Yearling, located over near Hawthorne and the Marjorie Rawlings State Park, serves Sour Orange Pie. Many love it. My search for the pie continues.
The orange known as the Seville Orange made its way to the states via Spain. I read about it via Cathy Salustri in her book Backroads of Paradise. The Seville is not sweet, nor does it taste exactly like a lemon. It is bitter, works well in mojo sauces. But it is also served in pie. I’ll keep my eyes open at Florida shops and restaurants for Sour orange marmalade, pie, cheesecake and other such items. Sour oranges can sometimes be purchased at Cuban grocery stores or other local outlets.
Several recipes for Sour Orange Pie are available on the internet. Soon I hope to try one. Substitutions will have to do until I get my hands on some sour oranges, strange as they may be. I’m curious about the sour flavors, especially put right up against the sweet creamy texture of the pie. The authentic Florida eating experience must include eating sour orange pie. Even if Key Lime pie is the queen of Florida eating, certainly Sour Orange Pie is a princess?
Cook’s County is a magazine that trumpets authentic food, true to taste and tradition. You can check their site on the internet, or perhaps you are a subscriber. Their recipe includes substitutions if you do not have Seville Oranges.
Garden and Gun (gardenandgun.com) claims their recipe has a bright clean flavor and is topped with meringue. This is the recipe I plan to try, using whipped cream topping rather than meringue.
Here are the basics of the recipe with thanks to Garden and Gun
Sour Orange Pie
1 and a half sleeves saltines
3 Tablespoons sugar
½ cup butter, softened
Combine these and knead until crust comes together. Press into an 8-inch pie pan and chill in the fridge for 15-20 minutes. Bake in a 350 degree oven until brown.
½ cup sugar
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 Tablespoon butter, melted
3 egg yolks, beaten
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon orange juice
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoons lemon juice
Combine sugar and cornstarch. Whisk in butter. Slowly pour 1 cup hot water into the mix, whisking to dissolve lumps. Whisk in egg yolks and citrus juices. Cook over medium-low heat for 5-10 minutes . Mixture will coat the back of the spoon.
Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees and bake for 25-30 minutes. Top with meringue before baking if you wish.
Garden and Gun calls this pie a forgotten classic
Another recipe has been shared at the website authenticflorida.com
This recipe suggests using Florida sour oranges, Florida calomondins ( a small fruit like a lemon), you may find at a Florida citrus shop or key limes or a combo of lemon and orange. Zest the fruit before juicing to add to the flavor of your pie.
Here’s the recipe:
Sour Orange Pie
Purchase a graham cracker crust or make your crust with 1/3 pound graham crackers, 5 Tablesppons of melted unsalted butter and ½ cup sugar.
4 egg yolks
2 teaspoons of zest
1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2/3 cup of freshly squeezed calomondin juice, or 1/3 cup orange juice with 1/3 cup lemon juice, all fresh squeezed.
Beat egg yolks and zest until fluffy using an electric mixture with a whisk attachment, if you have one. Gradually add the condensed milk and heat three or four more minutes. Lower the mixing speed to add juice and mix just until combined. Pour mixture into the crust and bake at 350 degrees in the oven for 10 minutes or until set. Cool. Refirigerate. Freeze 15-20 minutes before serving.
Top with whipped cream. Make your own with heavy cream or purchase at the store.
Do comment if you have prepared, eatened or purchased sour orange products. Let’s find out more about these crazy oranges.