Photo by Josh Shaub
***Get down to Local Cafe at Grand Central Market, Downtown, 324 S. Hill Street LA CA 90013 for the DFC Brunch-Up today
I used to churn butter for the buttermilk used in this pie, one of my all-time favorites growing up. Churning is therapeutic, and I recommend it as a straight-up way to get back to basics. (You can always go to the store if you’re out of time, though!) This dessert was only made for holidays, church functions, or other specific occasions, which made it feel extra special to me. The candied oranges, in particular, bring back vivid memories. The custard and cake-like layers in this pie combined with the orangey goodness remind me of cheesecake. Add a smothering of chocolate ganache and YUM! You’ve got an ultimate dessert on your hands. - DFC
ORANGE COCONILLA PIE
SERVES: 8 to 10
PREP AND COOKING TIME: 3 hours, plus refrigeration
6 tbsps. unsalted butter, chilled
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
2 cups all-purpose flour
A pinch of salt
Grated zest of one orange
1 rounded tbsp. white sugar
4 tbsps. vegetable shortening, room temperature
4 tbsps. plus more as needed, fresh orange juice, chilled
2 cups white sugar
A pinch of salt
Seeds from 2 vanilla pods
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 to 5 rounded tbsps. all-purpose flour
3 large eggs, separated
1¼ cups buttermilk
1 tsp. cream of tartar (or lemon juice)
8 oz. bittersweet or dark chocolate, finely chopped
3/4 cups heavy whipping cream
Grated zest of one orange
2 tbsps. unsalted butter
1 tbsp. rum (light or dark)
1. To prepare the pie crust, freeze a large bowl, the butter, cornmeal, and flour for 30 minutes. If you don’t have a marble or stainless steel surface on which to roll your dough, refrigerate a cutting board.
2. In the large, cold bowl combine the chilled flour, chilled cornmeal, salt, orange zest, and sugar.
3. Massage the vegetable shortening into the flour mixture until well combined.
4. Using a cheese grater, grate the chilled butter into the flour-shortening mixture, and toss to combine. It should look like a coarse cornmeal.
5. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the orange juice into flour-shortening mixture and toss it with a fork—do not touch the mixture with your hands. Repeat with remaining orange juice. Add more OJ as necessary, until mixture holds together when squeezed (see note*).
6. Place dough in a large Ziploc bag, and squeeze it until a ball forms. Press dough into a disk shape and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
7. Divide refrigerated dough in half. You will only be using one half, so wrap up the other one and freeze it for another use. Place chilled cutting board on the counter, if you don’t have a stainless steel or marble work surface. Flour your work surface, grab your rolling pin, and roll dough into a circle about 11 inches in diameter and 1/8 inch thick (see note**).
8. To transfer to the pie dish, carefully wrap dough around rolling pin and center it above an ungreased, 9-inch pie dish. Carefully unroll dough onto the pie dish, and gently press the dough into the dish (see note***). Trim the excess dough. Go ahead, crimp it. Set aside.
9. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
10. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the sugar, salt, vanilla beans, and butter on medium speed, about 3 minutes. Stop mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the flour and egg yolks, mix on medium for 1 minute. Add the buttermilk, mix until just combined.
11. In a chilled metal bowl, whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar or lemon juice until soft peaks form. Fold egg whites into buttermilk mixture and pour the batter into the pie shell.
12. Bake pie for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The top should be slightly crusty and brown.
13. Cool pie completely on a wire rack, and refrigerate it for 3 hours or up to overnight.
14. To make the ganache, place the chocolate in a medium stainless steel bowl.
15. In a 4-quart saucepan set on medium-high, heat the cream, orange zest, and butter. Bring mixture to a slow boil. Immediately pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and allow to stand for 5 minutes, then whisk until smooth. If desired, stir in the rum.
16. Spread the ganache over the chilled pie and let set, about 1 hour. I serve the CocoNilla with fresh whipped cream flavored with vanilla.
* I learned this from Alton Brown. Use a spray bottle to add the liquids to the flour. It’s an amazing trick! Just lightly spritz a few times, toss the dough with a fork, and repeat until the dough holds together when squeezed.
** Don’t just roll the dough back and forth. Try rolling north, pick up the pin, roll northeast; pick up dough and move counter-clockwise. Repeat. You want the crust as evenly rolled as possible. Continue to flour the surface underneath the dough to prevent sticking.
*** Fold the rolled-out dough in quarters, then place the point in the center of the pie dish. Unfold the dough.
RIDE OR FRY
by Dante Fried Chicken