My family had a cottage on a lake in rural Central Florida which was surrounded by thousands of acres of orange groves. Looking back, it was not only a charmed life but one that was heavenly scented. When the orange blossoms were in bloom there was magic in the air.
Truckloads and truckloads of citrus were delivered to the nearby processing plants where the fruit was washed, juiced, and prepared for packaging or concentrate.
Today there is a national brand that is packaged in Lake Wales, the closest town to the cottage, and when I read where it is from I am always taken back to my younger self.
The orange is the official fruit of Florida, and ninety percent of the citrus grown there is for orange juice. I took it for granted at the time, but we would just go outside, pick an orange, and juice it. It was amazing.
Orange juice wasn’t always as commonplace as it is today. In the mid-1910s there was on overproduction of citrus in California. The growers did not know what to do with all of the fruit and didn’t see any better option but to destroy 30% of the trees.
At the time, people didn’t have refrigerators yet, so if they used the crop for juicing the juice would only last for a day before beginning to rot.
However, pasteurization had just been discovered - and they national railroad system completed - so the growers did juice the oranges, pasteurized it, had it bottled and thus began to ship nationwide.
Today’s recipe is an authentic “Old Flordia” one, similar to its more famous Key Lime Pie, but in my opinion, much, much better!
Orange Juice Pie
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
20 Shortbread cookies
3 Tbsp sugar
1 pinch salt
4 Tbsp butter melted
14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
6 Tbsp orange juice concentrate thawed
4 egg yolks
2 tsp lemon zest about 2-3 lemons
6 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp grated orange zest
1 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp orange zest
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Process cookies in a food processor until finely ground.
Add in sugar, salt, and melted butter. Stir to combine.
Press into the bottom and up the sides a 9-inch pie plate. Use the bottom of a measuring cup to flatten the crust.
Bake the crust for 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool completely, at least 30 minutes.
Mix together all the ingredients until combined. Pour into cooled crust. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes or until the center jiggles slightly when shaken.
Let cool completely and refrigerated for at least 3 hours or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Whip the cream with sugar and orange zest in a mixer until peaks form. Dollop on top of the sliced pie!