Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The Return of Pie in the Sky

When the dark days of winter linger before the light begins to lengthen the days once more, I tend to cook or bake cheering foods that remind me of bright sunlight.

And what could be a sunnier flavor than that of freshly squeezed oranges?

Perhaps that's why at this time of year I tend to rummage through the bags of fresh oranges sent by my Wonderful Parents in order to make Pie in the Sky.

I've mentioned before how this first original creation from my kitchen layers the flavors from orange peel, orange juice, and a special orange extract into a light but creamy and warming pie that astonishes and delights unsuspecting guests.

But before tonight, I had never before made it for the friend who inspired both the recipe and the short story I had written to introduce it. And since my Granola Girl had found the time to visit me over the holiday break, surely I could find the time to make "her" pie.

The pie itself, though loaded with a stunning burst of sunshiny flavor, has an unremarkable appearance straight out of the oven:

That brown, almost crusty topping (a little darker this time due to the use of Sucanat) doesn't look like anything special, does it? But once you've whipped the cream with an orange peel-infused sugar,

you cut the pie into generous slices so that you can see how the layers blend into one another – and top it with a heaping spoonful of that rich cream.

Described once as "a slice of sunshine topped with a dollop of cloud," Pie in the Sky remains a crowd-pleaser in my home.

And what did my Granola Girl think of "her" pie?

Amid the rapturous sighs and fluttering swoons (and I'm not exaggerating... well, maybe a little), she managed to murmur, "How lovely!" before taking another blissful bite.

And she readily agreed to take some of the leftovers home.


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