Orange and ginger lovers will gobble up this orange blossom pie. Make it vegan-friendly by using plant-based butter and cream cheese.
Way back in the 1990s, someone brought an orange blossom pie to work for some sort of celebration. Everyone loved it, and I asked for the recipe. The crust in the original orange blossom pie was made from ginger snaps. When I went gluten-free, I discovered this was one dessert that was just as good as the original using Mi-Del Gluten Free Ginger Snaps for the crust. Recently while looking for a dessert for vegan loved ones, I tried plant-based butter and cream cheese with tasty results.
One-Butt Kitchen Mistakes
With this one recipe, I have two cooking disasters to add to my list of One-Butt Kitchen Mistakes. First, I misread the amount of cornstarch and used 2½ teaspoons instead of 2½ tablespoons for the glaze. Instead of a nice thick glaze over the oranges, I had a watery mess, which I threw out.
Another time I was in a hurry and set the pan with the glaze on the stovetop without looking at what I was doing. The pan tilted in the gap on the rack and fell off the stove. As near as I can tell, I put the rack on backwards after I cleaned the stove top. I had extra oranges so I was able to salvage that dessert by starting over with the glaze. (Of course, I also had to stop to clean the orange goop off the cabinet and floor and wash the throw rug.)
Active time: 30 minutes Total time: 1 hour
Specialized One-Butt Kitchen Utensils
- A 4-Cup Food Processor is half the size of most home food processors. It’s lightweight and compact, but big enough to process the cookies into crumbs for the crust. One drawback to the 4-cup food processor is that it doesn’t include a shredding blade. If you’ll be shredding cheese, potatoes or other veggies, the 8-Cup Compact Food Processor comes with a shredding blade.
- You’ll need a Pyrex Pie Plate that can also come in handy for several other meals, including Buffalo Chicken Dip and Pepperoni Pizza Dip.
- A sharp Paring Knife will make it easier to peel the oranges and slice them into pretty sections. (Also recommended: a husband who knows how to use a Ceramic Rod Knife Sharpener when that paring knife gets dull. Yes, in our one-butt kitchen, we have a definite division of duties.)
- Use an Orange Squeezer to juice 2 of the oranges for the glaze.
- 8-oz bag Mi-Del Gluten Free Ginger Snaps (makes 1 ½ cups fine ginger snap crumbs)
- ¼ cup melted butter (ghee or plant-based butter also works)
- 10 navel, Cara Cara, Valencia or other seedless oranges (use 8 oranges for slices and 2 oranges for juice)
- ½ cup sugar (or less), plus ⅓ cup
- 2 ½ tbsp cornstarch (Yes, tablespoons, not teaspoons!)
- 8 oz Neufchatel cheese or dairy-free cream cheese, softened
- ¼ cup crystallized ginger, diced
- whipped cream (optional)
To make the crust, put the ginger snaps in a food processor and process until the crumbs are fine. Add melted butter. Mix crumbs and butter until moistened. Pat into bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Bake at 375 degrees for 8 minutes. Cool.
To cut the peel and pith from the oranges, start by holding an orange with your fingers on the top and your thumb on the bottom. With a sharp paring knife, trim the peel from the orange. Slice the oranges into ⅓-inch cross sections, reserving the end pieces for juice. Arrange the orange slices in a shallow bowl, sprinkling on a thin layer of sugar as you go. (You may not need the full ½ cup sugar in this step.) Squeeze all juice from end slices onto the oranges slices. Let sit 30 minutes.
Combine cream cheese and diced ginger in the food processor.
To make the glaze, drain the juice from the sweetened oranges into a measuring cup. Squeeze 1 or 2 additional oranges to get a total of 1 cup of juice. Pour the juice into a pan and add cornstarch and 1/3 cup sugar. Cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly until the mixture boils and thickens, turning from a cloudy color to a shiny orange. Let cool to room temperature.
To assemble, spread softened cream cheese on the bottom of the cooled crust. Arrange a layer of drained orange slices on top of the cream cheese. If any of your slices are broken or misshapen, hide them on the bottom. Spoon about one third of the glaze over the oranges. Add another layer of oranges and another third of glaze. Arrange the rest of orange slices and top with remaining glaze.
Refrigerate at least 1 hour. If you can make it 5 or 6 hours before you serve it, you’ll have a better chance of getting that first slice out with the crust intact.
Serve the orange blossom pie with whipped cream (optional).