Monday, January 12, 2015

White Chocolate Blood Orange Mousse Pie (aka "Puce Pie")

Blood oranges are as rare as hen’s teeth in my supermarket, so when I see them I automatically pounce. I’m never quite sure what I’ll do with these rare treasures, but I know it will be good and, generally, striking. The Moro oranges I found have a 

more intense flavor and aroma than the standard navel orange, and their flesh is usually a beautiful deep red color (though some oranges are only very lightly pigmented; see below). They are slightly tart, which is why I like to pair them with something sweet, as in this White Chocolate Blood Orange Mousse Pie. The sweet 

white chocolate balances the acidity of the blood orange juice (which I made even tarter by adding some lemon juice). The rich and buttery crumb crust is made from Lorna Doone cookies, though you can use any shortbread cookie you like. It’s a good alternative to the ubiquitous graham cracker crust. Since the mousse filling ends up 

being a very pale puce color, I decided to garnish the pie with candied blood orange slices. Just my luck, my last orange ended up looking a lot like an ordinary old orange-hued orange, without the beautiful coloration characteristic of blood oranges – just a few dark red streaks here and there. Hopefully, your pie will be much more vibrant and just as delicious as mine.

White Chocolate Blood Orange Mousse Pie

Makes one 9-inch pie, serving 8

Shortbread Crumb Crust:
1 2/3 cups Lorna Doone cookie crumbs (1 whole package)
2 tablespoons (25 g) granulated sugar
6 tablespoons (85 g) unsalted butter, melted

White Chocolate Blood Orange Mousse:
¼ cup water
1 ¾ teaspoons powdered gelatin
¾ cup (150 g) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons finely grated blood orange zest
½ cup (121 g) freshly squeezed blood orange juice
¼ cup (60 g) freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 large egg yolks
3 ounces good quality white chocolate, chopped
1 1/3 cups (309 g) heavy cream

Candied Orange Slices:
1 large blood orange
1 ½ cups (354 g) water
½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar

Make the crust:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, combine the shortbread crumbs, sugar and melted butter. Pat the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Bake the crust for 8 to 10 minutes, until it is fragrant and just beginning to brown very lightly. Cool the crust completely on a wire rack.

Make the mousse:
2. Place the water in a small saucepan and sprinkle the gelatin on top. Allow to soften for 5 minutes.
3. Add the sugar, orange zest, citrus juices and yolks and whisk until blended. Place the mixture over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly with a silicone spatula, until the mixture thicken slightly and coats the spatula; do not allow the mixture to boil, or it will cook the yolks. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to stand for 2 minutes.
4. Add the white chocolate to the hot juice mixture and let stand for a minute to melt the chocolate. Whisk until smooth. Pass the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl. Place the bowl into another bowl filled one-third of the way with ice water. Let the mixture stand, stirring occasionally, until completely cool.
5. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the cream at high speed until soft peaks form. Briskly fold one-third of the whipped cream into the juice mixture. Gently fold in the remaining whipped cream. Scrape the mousse into the cooled crust, swirling the top decoratively. Refrigerate the pie for at least 3 hours.

Make the Candied Orange Slices:
6. Slice the orange crosswise into rounds that are slightly thinner than ¼-inch.
7. Combine the water and sugar in a large skillet and place over medium-high heat. Bring a boil, stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved. Add the orange slices and simmer over medium heat until the slices begin to turn translucent, about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the orange slices cool in the syrup completely. Once cool, store the slices in their syrup in a small container in the refrigerator.

8. Serve a slice of the pie topped with a Candied Orange Slice.