I always thought it was funny how citrus fruits peak in the wintertime. To me, the thought of citrus fruits conjures up summery images like lemonade stands propped up on the corner of neighborhood streets during the sweltering heat, or glasses of freshly squeezed OJ for brunch on a warm Sunday afternoon. But I’m not complaining—I love how citrus fruits are so full of life and vibrancy during the coldest times of the year. Maybe they serve as nature’s reminders that not all things are dismal and bleak during the winter seasons, and that, before we know it, summer will be right around the corner.
I was craving tangerines the other day and I went to the store to hunt for some, but could only find Cuties, which, in my opinion, are just as good. Cuties, known officially as Californian Clementines, are hybrids of two types of mandarin clementines. Playfully small and charmingly bright, Cuties definitely live up to their name. And, a three pound bag has 20 Cuties. 20! Which means enough Cuties for both snacking and baking… sweet!
I decided to use 11 out of the 20 cuties to make a Cutie Cream Pie. My original recipe was a Tangerine Cream Pie, but Cuties make great substitutes for tangerines when baking. In fact, I bet you could substitute other citrus juices in the recipe for the tangerine and it would work out great, too! You can eat the pie as is, or kick it up a notch by topping it with some torched meringue and a candied tangerine slice.
Tangerine (Cutie) Cream Pie
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Lightly oil the sides and bottom of your springform pan.
- Combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter in a stainless steel bowl. Mix well with clean hands. Transfer to pan and press down firmly onto bottom of pan.
- Bake for 7 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside to cool.
- Sprinkle the gelatin over ¼ cup tangerine juice and let stand about 5 minutes.
- Combine the remaining cup of tangerine juice, egg yolks and sugar in a saucepan. Whisk together over medium heat until it simmers and thickens slightly. Remove from heat and whisk in gelatin mixture until dissolved. Transfer to a stainless steel bowl and place over an ice bath. Stir with spatula until mixture has thickened and cooled. Remove from ice bath.
- Add yogurt to pudding and fold in gently until incorporated. Pour into pan and chill until set (at least 4 hours).