Saturday, February 11, 2012

Grand Finale -- Cara Mia Cream Pie

The juicing, the cocktails, frenetic peeling and zesting culminate in one of the most indulgent, creamy, rich pies that is also deceptively light as a cloud. How is that possible?  Inspired by the pie master, James McNair, naturally.  This volume, James McNair's Pie Cookbook, was lovingly purchased years ago to indulge my pie-baking husband. Beautiful too look at and the recipes are well crafted, easy to follow and have a bit of inspiration. Memories of the Mixed Citrus Cream Pie, with brilliant yellow custard and whipped cream rattled around in my brain as I wandered through the fruit stand piled high with oranges, clementines, minneola tangelos, lemons and limes.

Cara Mia Cream Pie
Dubbed Cara Mia from the citrus juice blend concocted for the Cara Mia Sidecar, this pie has a suprise in the docile looking crumb crust. A bit of thin ginger cookie tang to offset the sweet fluff that is the mousse-lie filling. Topped with homemade candied lemon and orange peels. This is using the whole fruit as they say. I even saved the golden simple syrup that was left over from the candying process to be used later when a sweet citrus addition suits. Liquid Gold it is. Hmm, Mojito?

And if you have too much filling for your pie pan? Why not Cara Mia Mousse "Shots?" Maybe that is the just right something to end an intimate, elegant meal.

Cara Mia Cream makes excellent little "shots" for an elegant bite.

Cara Mia Citrus Cream Pie
Adapted from James McNair’s Pie Cookbook, Citrus Cream Pie
Serves 6-8
Prep Time 14 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Chill Time 2-3 hours

Ginger-Graham Crumb Crust
1 cup Ginger Thins Cookie Crumbs
1 cup Honey Graham Cracker Crumbs
¼ cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
Cara Mia Citrus Blend
2 Clementines
2 Cara Cara Pink oranges
2 Minneola tangelo
1 Lime
2 Meyers Lemons
2 egg yolks
4 whole eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup Cara Mia Citrus Juices
2 tablespoons grated citrus zest (from Cara Cara Citrus Blend)
½ cup unsalted butter cut into tablespoons
1 ½ cup heavy (whipping cream)
½ teaspoon orange extract

Crust: Combine cookie and graham crumbs with sugar and melted butter. Press into 9” buttered pie pan. Bake 10 min. in 350 oven to set. Remove and cool before filling.

Zest citrus fruits to yield 2 tablespoons grated zest. Using vegetable peeler, remove remaining solid peel from fruit, cut off any lingering white pith and julienne finely to prep for candying the strips.

Squeeze juice from the variety of fruits, strain to remove pulp. There will be more juice than you need, so have fun either sipping or creating a Cara Mia Sidecar while you’re waiting.

Place egg yolks and whole eggs in double boiler, whisk briskly or beat for 2 minutes. Add in sugar, citrus zest, stir to combine. Place double boiler over simmering water (medium/medium low heat) and continue to stir. Add in the butter pieces one at at time, stirring and melting completely before adding the next. Continue until all butter is used and the custard has thickened, about 20 minutes. Should look thick and silky, easily coating the back of your spoon. Remove from heat and place on a ice bath to cool down. Cover the surface of the custard with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until well chilled. McNair says at this stage it can be “stored up to 1 month.” But I am not waiting that long! While cooling, whip the heavy cream and orange extract into stiff peaks.  Gently fold the whipped cream into the custard a third at a time until fully incorporated. Put cream mixture into prepared crust and chill for 2-3 hours. Top with candied citrus zest/peels.

Cook’s Tips
Simple Candied Orange Peel, Bon App├ętit  | December 2008

That ought to chase the winter blues away! Pin It


  1. If there is multi tasking, there is multi-recipe posting. I love that, talk about being productive. I have bookmarked this page. Thanks for sharing!

    1. You caught the spirit of this post new friend! Thank YOU for your kind comment.

  2. Over the top, pure citrus HEAVEN! Amazing, Robin and brava!!!

    1. The result of a wild and citrusy weekend, whew. Cheers Jenn!

  3. So envious of the gorgeous citrus fruits!! And although the pie looks fab, it is the mousse shots that really caught my eye - the perfect end to a meal :) Lovely photos too!

    1. Thank you Jeanne! Somehow I just knew you would love the "shots!"


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