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Citrus Chiffon Pie

Citrus Chiffon Pie
Gelatin is an odorless, colorless, tasteless thickener derived from collagen, a protein extracted from the bones, cartilage and tendons of animals. There are two forms of gelatin available: powdered gelatin, popular with American cooks, and sheet or leaf gelatin, which is commonly used in Europe. Both need to be hydrated and melted before they can be added to a recipe. Do not confuse powdered gelatin with the sweetened, fruit-flavored gelatin desserts sold in boxes.

Ingredients:

  • 1⁄4 cup cold water
  • 2 1⁄4 tsp. (1 package) unflavored powdered gelatin
  • 3⁄4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1⁄8 tsp. salt
  • 3⁄4 cup fresh lemon juice, strained
  • 1 Tbs. finely grated orange zest
  • 4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 1 1⁄4 cups heavy cream
  • 1⁄4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cookie crumb crust (see related recipe at left), made with gingersnaps

Directions:

Have ready an ice bath made by partially filling a large bowl with cold water and ice cubes.

Pour the 1¿4 cup cold water into a saucepan and sprinkle with the gelatin. Let stand until the gelatin softens and swells, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in the granulated sugar, salt, lemon juice, orange zest and egg yolks; the gelatin will be lumpy. Place the gelatin mixture over medium heat and cook, stirring continuously, until the gelatin melts and the mixture thickens, 6 to 8 minutes. Do not allow the mixture to boil. Set the saucepan in the ice bath and let cool until the mixture is cold to the touch.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed or a whisk, beat together the cream and confectioners¿ sugar until thick, soft peaks form. Spoon the whipped cream into the gelatin mixture and fold together with a rubber spatula until smooth. Pour into the cookie crust, smoothing the top with the spatula.

Refrigerate the pie until it is cold and firm, 3 to 4 hours. Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving to take the chill off. Makes one 9-inch pie; serves 8.

Note: This recipe contains eggs that may be only partially cooked. They run a risk of being infected with salmonella or other bacteria, which can lead to food poisoning. This risk is of most concern to small children, older people, pregnant women and anyone with a compromised immune system. If you have health and safety concerns, do not consume raw eggs.

To make eggs safe to consume, break them into a heatproof bowl and whisk to blend. Set the bowl over but not touching simmering water in a saucepan; the bowl should sit 1 inch above the water. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches 140°F. Maintain the temperature of the mixture between 140° and 150°F for 5 minutes. (If it climbs above 150°F, remove from the heat.) Place the bowl over a bowl filled with ice water and stir the eggs with a spatula until cool. The eggs can then be used for the pie filling.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Pie & Tart, by Carolyn Beth Weil (Simon & Schuster, 2003).