This is based on my grapefruit merengue pie recipe, which I posted here a while ago, although there are more differences in the filling than just the fruit. The crust, however, is identical to that recipe, q.v. (Actually, you could use any pie crust that you like with this filling, and, come to think of it, a graham cracker crust might be interesting. But I used the shortbread, and it worked out pretty well.)
- 3 oranges, or 2 if large
- boiling water, divided
- 5/2 cups granulated sugar (That's 2.5 cups, if I still remember how to convert rationals to decimal notation.)
- 3/4 cups cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves (See notes below.)
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 TBSP shortening (optional)
- orange food coloring (optional)
Prepare the dough for the crust, and place it in the refrigerator to chill.
Stir the cornstarch into the sugar in a medium-large saucepan. Bring the water to a rolling boil.
Grate rind (amount to taste; I took most of the outer, dark-orange layer of rind from two oranges) into a large measuring cup and add the juice and pulp, discarding any seeds, the remaining peel, and as many of the section dividers as you can easily separate from the pulp. Add enough boiling water to bring the total volume, including the fruit pulp, to four and a half cups.
Add the water and fruit mixture to the sugar and cornstarch in the saucepan, stirring. Place over low-to-medium heat and stir as necessary until it boils gently. Add another half a cup of boiling water, the egg yolks, and the cloves. Continue stirring until it reaches a good boil. Remove from heat and stir in the food coloring and/or butter if desired.
Let it cool. Preheat the oven to 350 Fahrenheit. Roll the crusts, invert onto pie pans, and prebake them. Add the filling, top with merengue right to the edges, and bake just until the merengue is lightly browned. Cool. Serve chilled.
I am of two minds about the amount of cloves in this recipe. On the one hand, the presence of the cloves is readily apparent, and a smaller quantity might create a more subtle effect, which might be better, especially if the effect you're going for is "orange pie". On the other hand, the flavor of the cloves is not as strong as the orange flavor, particularly if you use as much rind as I did, so more cloves might create more of a balance. If the effect you're going for is an even balance of clove and orange, more clove is probably wanted. I can't decide which way I'd go next time.
It may also be worth considering a bit of vanilla extract, or a bit of lemon juice in the water.
I believe I got the sugar about right, at least for the oranges I used (seedless "naval" oranges; it's what we had in the fridge, and they weren't the freshest ever either; better oranges would presumably yield better results). I wasn't sure I'd nail the sugar the first time, since I was reducing it from the amount in the grapefruit version, but I think I got it about right.