Calamansi Pie

Ah, the calamansi. Small in size but strong in flavor, found in abundance in most of our stores, markets and supermarkets. I will not lament this country’s lack of meyer lemons (okay, maybe, I’ll lament a little bit), but instead celebrate the bountiful presence of this tiny, mighty citrus.

And what better way to do that than by making a calamansi pie?

The recipe is fun and easy and classic – it’s  a recipe for key lime pie but with calamansi as your main citrus. This was my first time ever making this kind of pie and I was worried that the custard would be too rich or too sweet, but that was just me underestimating the calamansi. Turns out, even with all that egg yolk and condensed milk, the calamansi brightness is going to stand out.

Oh, and a word about calamansi zest: getting it is a bit of a challenge. The skin of a calamansi is much thinner than other kinds of citrus. It pretty much turns into juice when you try to grate it. What I ended up doing is removed the all seeds and the pith and sliced the skin into tiny slivers. But the good news is, if you’re too lazy to do that, the calamansi juice is more than enough to get the flavor through. So, all you have to do is to be ready for a lot of squeezing.

Extra fun bits: Whipped cream! White chocolate shavings! The whipped cream adds a cool, silky sweetness, while the white chocolate adds an extra layer of buttery richness at the end. Not to mention it makes your pie look fancy.

For the graham cracker crust:

1 1/4 cup crushed graham crackers
7 tbs melted butter
2 tbs brown sugar
2 tbs ground ginger

For the filling:
4 egg yolks
1 3/4 cup / 396 g / 14 oz condensed milk
1/2 cup fresh calamansi juice
2 tbs grated calamansi zest (optional)

For the extra fun bits:
1 1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
small bar of white chocolate

Preheat oven to 325ºF/162ºC.

Make your filling. Whisk lime zest and egg yolks in a bowl until frothy. Whisk in condensed milk and lime juice. Set aside.

Make your crust. Stir graham cracker crumbs and brown sugar. While stirring, gradually drizzle in melted butter. Mix until all dry ingredients are moistened. Transfer the crumbs to a 9-inch pie plate. Press the crumbs in the bottom of the pan and up the sides. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until crust is fragrant. Cool to room temperature.

Put your pie together. Pour the filling into the crust once crust has cooled. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until center is set (but still slightly jiggly in the middle in the center). Cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until well-chilled (3 hours or more).

Make the extra fun bits. Whip the cream (electric mixer, medium speed). Add sugar gradually as you whip. Continue until stiff peaks form. Grate a little bit of your favorite white chocolate. Decorate the pie.

Enjoy your pie. Have a slice. Add some more of that whipped cream, if you wish. Celebrate the citrus-y goodness.

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