Seville Orange Marmalade Pie
Updated: Aug 28
Update: This pie won "Prettiest Pie" in the KCRW Good Food Virtual Pie Pageant (P.S. It tastes great too, pretty and substance.)
I dreamed up this pie-baby as a twist on a classic Lemon Meringue Pie, and as a creative solution for using up the copious amounts of sour oranges from the tree in my yard. Seville Oranges, also known as bitter or sour oranges are prized for making the best marmalade. Also great for meat marinades, making bitters or your own cleaning supplies, and a refreshing drink called Naranjada, but that's about it. My one tree is a monster and we can't make enough marmalade to use up all the fruit. For background and a funny aside of what else we're doing with them, read my Instagram post The Great Sour Orange Debacle, Part 1.
This recipe starts with a Lemon Meringue base recipe and I substitute sour orange juice for the lemon juice. To incorporate the marmalade in a beautiful way, I pour a thin layer of marmalade over the chilled curd.
"Between the orange color of the filling and the imaginative use of meringue, well it's just so pretty. That is fucking delicious." -- Evan Kleiman, host of KCRW "Good Food"
You may look at this beautiful photo and think it's perfect, but I promise you it's far from perfect. I made so many mistakes along the way that there were a couple times I thought it was going to be a complete throw-away. Because this blog is all about conquering the fear of baking and learning from mistakes, I'm going to outline in the pie steps all the mistakes I made along the way and what I learned highlighted in RED. Even though you're reading my fuckups you're likely going to make your own mistakes and it's going to be totally OKAY! Sometimes the best way to learn is through experience. And sometimes mistakes turn into a delicious discovery -- see Banana-y Banana Pudding.
Steps to Make This Pie:
Plan for at least 2 days to make and assemble this pie. It took me several hours to make the marmalade properly. Pie dough needs to be made, chilled, rolled out and pre-baked. Then there's lots of chilling and waiting for the curd and marmalade to cool and set. When I try to do too much and multi-task bad things happen. Take it one step at a time, don't rush. I'd recommend:
Day 1: Make marmalade and pie dough. Roll and pre-bake your pie dough.
Day 2: Make the curd and meringue. Assemble and chill.
Finished pie can be refrigerated until ready to eat.
You ready? Here goes. Bok-bok-BAKE!
Get the Recipe
Seville Orange Marmalade Pie
This pie is a twist on a classic lemon meringue pie that celebrates the flavor of Seville Orange Marmalade and the fruit’s unique sour/bitter flavors. A Salty Cardamom crust holds together layers of sour orange curd, orange marmalade, and toasted Swiss meringue. A Baking With Chickens Original Recipe.
Makes one 9-inch pie, serves 6-8
Time to Prepare: TOTAL 12 hours (includes all cooling/chill time)
3 hours (pie shell - cooled)
4-5 hours (marmalade from scratch)
30-40 minutes and 3+ hours chill time(curd and meringue)
There are four parts to this recipe:
Seville Orange Marmalade
Salty Cardamom Crust
Seville Orange Curd
Seville Orange Marmalade, adapted from David Lebovitz
Makes 1 quart
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 3-4 hours
Make marmalade the day before so it can cool completely.
Set aside 4-5 hours of cooking time to make this, it'll be worth it. Don't take shortcuts with pectin. It's unnecessary and won't be as tasty.
This recipe makes 1 quart of marmalade. You won’t need the full quart for the pie, only a 1/2 cup of marmalade. Save the rest to eat with crusty bread and brie cheese
3 Seville oranges (in season from mid-December to mid-February)
1/2 Meyer lemon
5 cups water
pinch of salt
4 cups sugar
1/2 tablespoon Scotch/Bourbon (optional)
1. Wash oranges and lemon and wipe them dry. Cut each Seville orange in half, crosswise around the equator. Set a non-reactive mesh strainer over a bowl and squeeze the orange and lemon halves to remove the seeds, assisting with your fingers to remove any stubborn ones tucked deep within. Remove the skins from the rinds. If the orange rinds have an extra thick white pith, it will make the flavor bitter. Scrape off as much pith off as you can from the rind. Save the juice, skins, and seeds. Discard the white pith.
2. Tie the seeds and skins up in cheesecloth or muslin very securely.
3. Cut each rind into 3 pieces and use a sharp chef’s knife to cut the rinds into very thin slices, as thin as possible. Each piece shouldn’t be too large (no more than a centimeter, or 1/3-inch in length). Thin slices looks prettier on top of the pie.
4. In a medium saucepan, add the orange slices, seed pouch, water, and salt, as well as the juice from the Seville oranges from step #1. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, and cook until the peels are translucent, about 20 to 30 minutes.
5. Stir the sugar into the mixture and bring the mixture to a full boil again, then reduce heat to a gentle boil. Stir occasionally while cooking to make sure it does not burn on the bottom. Midway during cooking, remove the seed pouch and discard.
6. Continue cooking until it has reached the jelling point, about 218ºF degrees (103ºC), if using a candy thermometer. I cook this slightly less than other jams and marmalades because the high amount of pectin helps the marmalade set up more stiffly. To test the marmalade, turn off the heat and put a small amount on a plate that has been chilled in the freezer and briefly return it to the freezer. Check it in a few minutes; it should be slightly jelled and will wrinkle just a bit when you slide your finger through it. If not, continue to cook until it is. Consistency is important here. If you overcook your marmalade and it's too thick you won't be able to pour a thin layer. Too thin and it'll be watery all over your pie.
7. Remove from heat, then stir in the Scotch/Bourbon (if using), and ladle the mixture into clean jars. The splash of liquor makes the marmalade flavors sing, if you have some on hand I highly recommend it!
8. Set aside to cool to room temperature. If the thin rind pieces are floating to the top and not suspended throughout, after the marmalade cools and you’re able to handle it without burning your hand, shake the jar a few times while still warm to help evenly distribute the rinds.
9. After it’s cooled, store marmalade in the refrigerator until ready to use/eat. You'll only need less than 1/2 cup marmalade for the pie. Save the rest to eat with bread and cheese, on top of pancakes, etc.
Time to Prepare: 3 hours total (1-hour prep + 1-hour dough chill time + 1-hour blind baking)
Makes one crust
See my tips for how to bake a perfect pie crust.
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
1/2 cup (1 stick or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, very-cold, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon sugar
3 to 4 tablespoons ice water
1. Mix flour, sugar, salt, and cardamom -- in a large bowl or in a food processor.
2. Add butter, cut in the butter into the flour mixture using a pastry cutter or your fingers. If using a food processor, add half at a time, pulsing several times after each addition. Pulse to cut in the butter and mix until the texture is like soft wet sand with butter chunks no larger than pea-sized. Flatten butter chunks with your fingers.
3. Slowly drizzle ice water a little at a time. Mix or pulse. Then add more ice water a tablespoon at a time until the dough just starts to hold together.
4. Press pie dough to see if it holds together. You know that the mixture is ready if when you pinch some of the crumbly dough together with your fingers, it holds together. Don’t add too much water or your dough will be tough.
5. Gather the mixture and divide the dough into two halves. Knead just enough for the dough to hold together, but don’t over-knead. Press the dough together and form two flat dough disks. This will help when you need to roll it out.
6. You’ll see cold butter chunks/streaks speckling the dough. These small bits of butter will spread out into layers as the crust bakes to create a flaky crust.
7. Wrap each one in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for one hour or up to 2 days.
8. Remove one crust disk from the refrigerator and place on a rolling surface between two large sheets of parchment paper. Very lightly flour the dough disk to help it stick less to the parchment.
9. Roll out with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface to about 1/8-inch thick. As you roll out the dough, if the parchment is getting wrinkled on the dough, peel the parchment off the dough, sprinkle lightly with flour, and continue rolling.
10. Peel the parchment slowly and carefully off the dough on one side. If it’s very sticky, put it in the fridge for a little bit to chill and harden. Place the parchment back on top and flip the dough with both parchment papers over. Peel the parchment off the other side. Save parchment to use for blind baking.
11. Place a pie plate upside-down on top of the dough. Grab the side of the pie plate along with the parchment paper with both hands and flip them right-side up.
12. Take the sides of the dough and lift them gently to fall into the pie pan so that it lines the bottom and sides of the pie plate. Don’t stretch or press the dough down.
13. Use a pair of kitchen scissors to trim the dough to within 1/2 inch of the edge of the pie dish. Crimp the edges. Use a fork to poke holes on the bottom of the crust to allow steam to escape when baking.
How to Blind Bake a Pre-Baked Pie Crust:
1. Place the pie shell into the freezer and chill for at least 30 minutes to an hour.
READ THE INSTRUCTIONS: I've made this crust a hundred times. It's perfect every time. I did not read the Pre-Bake instructions to FREEZE THE PIE SHELL to chill and harden BEFORE baking or else the dough will slide down the side of the pan. When I realized I skipped that step just after I put the pie in the oven I figured, "fuggit, it'll be fine" and didn't take the time to chill the pie shell. Sure enough, it slid down the pan and looked ugly. UGH!
2. Pre-heat your oven to 350°F. Make sure you are starting with a frozen pie crust, not defrosted.
3. Line the inside of the frozen pie crust with two layers of parchment paper (that you saved from rolling the pie dough) or heavy duty aluminum foil, pressing against the sides and bottom of the crust, allowing the paper/foil to extend by a couple of inches on two opposing sides.
4. Fill the pie crust to the top with pie weights. You can use ceramic weights, dry beans, rice, or white sugar. Press the weights down lightly to fill in all sides of the pie and fold down any parchment seams. (You can reuse the sugar after baking. Baking the sugar lightly caramelizes it, making it even more flavorful if you want to use it later.)
5. Bake at 350°F for 60 to 75 minutes. Check the pie crust at 60 minutes to see if the edges and bottom are turning golden brown by lifting the excess foil. If bottom looks pale and unbaked but crust and side look golden brown, lift the pie weights out using parchment paper/foil and continue baking until the bottom of the pie is golden brown. If edges are browning too much but the bottom is not done, cover edges with foil to prevent over-browning.
6. Remove the pie shell from the oven. Lift out the pie weights from the pie shell using paper/foil, set aside to cool and store for future use.
20. Cool pie shell completely before adding pie filling.
Seville Orange Curd, adapted from Bon Appetit/Chris Morocco’s Lemon Meringue Pie recipe
Time to Prepare: 15-20 minutes
Note: You will have extra curd that won't fill the entire pie. Use the extra pie crust dough to make a smaller mini pie with the excess. Or save the curd to spoon over ice cream, pancakes, bread, whatever!
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
2 large eggs
4 large egg yolks
Zest of 4 Seville oranges and 1 a Meyer lemon
1 cup fresh Seville sour orange juice, plus squeeze of Meyer lemon juice
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 1/2 cups water
3 Tbsp. chilled unsalted butter
1. Whisk sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan to combine. Add eggs and egg yolks and whisk vigorously, making sure to get into corners of pan, until smooth and pale.
2. Whisk in orange zest and juice, salt, and water.
3. Place saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer, whisking often and making sure to get into corners of pan, 8–10 minutes (mixture should be bubbling and thickened). At around minute 4 it will transform from foamy liquid to thick pudding.
4. Reduce heat and continue to simmer, whisking constantly, 3 minutes.
5. Let cool 5 minutes, whisking every minute.
6. Add butter to filling and whisk until melted and fully incorporated.
7. Scrape filling into cooled pre-baked pie crust; smooth surface. Don't fill the shell completely. Leave enough room to pour a thin layer of marmalade without it spilling over the edge.
8. Cool to room temp. then chill in the refrigerator until cold and set, at least 3 hours and up to 3 days.
BE PATIENT! I was impatient and didn't allow the curd to cool completely before pouring the marmalade layer. As a result, the curd layer had giant fissures underneath the marmalade when the heat was trying to escape. Doesn't ruin the pie, it just doesn't look as pretty.
6. When the curd is chilled completely, pour a thin layer of Orange Marmalade on top of the cooled curd.
POUR SLOWLY. Don't overflow the marmalade over the top of the pie crust. Keep it below the crust line. Pour, then let the marmalade spread. Pour a little more by the spoonful if you need more. I poured too fast and it ended up all over the sides. Bleh.
7. Chill uncovered for 1 hour.
Swiss Meringue, adapted from Chris Morocco’s Lemon Meringue Pie recipe on Bon Appetit
Time to Prepare: 15-20 minutes
Note: If you doubled the curd recipe, you’ll have 2 extra egg whites. Double this recipe if you have extra egg whites.
4 large egg whites
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1. Combine egg whites, sugar, salt, and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer or another large heatproof bowl.
2. Set the bowl over a large saucepan filled with 1" simmering water (bowl shouldn’t touch the water).
3. Heat, stirring constantly, until sugar is dissolved and mixture is warm to the touch, about 4 minutes.
4. Fit bowl onto mixer fitted with whisk attachment (or use an electric mixer) and beat on medium-high speed until meringue is more than tripled in volume and medium peaks form.
5. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with piping tips. I used 3 different types of piping tips to create the whimsical design -- round, star, and french tips.
If you don’t have piping tips a resealable plastic bag will work—just snip off a corner
after bag is filled. Or just pile the meringue on top of the pie like a big fluffy cloud and use a spatula to spread.
6. Pipe meringue over filling in a crescent moon shape. Leave a part of the pie uncovered to see the orange marmalade layer.
7. Using a kitchen torch, lightly toast the meringue until light brown. Or toast under the oven broiler.
8. Garnish with a dried orange slice, or thin-sliced fresh orange slice, or orange peel twist
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