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Monday, September 19, 2016

Date Cream Pie with Orange Whipped Cream


Date Cream Pie with Orange Whipped Cream is a luscious cream pie filled with sweet date pieces and smothered with a delectable orange flavoured whipped cream topping.  Date lovers will sing your praises when you place this on the dinner table.

I was never a great date lover as a child but the dried fruit eventually made its way into my "liked" category of foods. (That's a long list by now!)  Mom often made Date Pudding and Aunt Edith served them on crackers with peanut butter and of course there was the much beloved Date Crumbles  that every mother and grandmother made on a regular basis.  Yes, dates worked their way into my favourites so quietly I didn't even know I liked them until I did!

I never thought of putting dates in a pie until I was reading one of my favourite cookbooks "Homemakers’ Cookbook and Guide to Nutrition" and there was a recipe for Cream Pie with a option to add dates.  That caught my attention and I couldn't get that pie out of my mind.  I marked the page with a sticky note and eventually got back to it last week.  So glad I did. 

I made up the pie crust and filling on Friday and topped it with the whipped cream on Saturday.  We ate the whole pie in less than 24 hours! And by "we" I mean Don and I!  Yes, we licked up that pie like two ravenous wolves who hadn't seen food in weeks and went back wishing there was more.  What a delicious pie it made!  Who would have thought dates could be so luscious in a pie.  I'll be making this pie again.  Soon.  Very soon. 

I was a little wary about the small amount of sugar in the cream filling--only one quarter cup, which is miniscule in a dessert but I decided I'd stick with the main ingredients of the recipe the first time around.  I made the right decision because the dates furnished more than enough sweetness to the filling.  I did add a tablespoon of butter to the filling for a little more richness.  The original recipe topped the pie with meringue but I thought a lovely topping of whipped cream would be more to my liking.  

The pie should be eaten within 3 days because the cream will start to get weepy the longer it sits.  But I don't think you'll have any trouble with this pie sitting around getting stale!


Date Cream Pie
2 cups hot milk
3½ tablespoons cornstarch
¼ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon butter
1½ teaspoon grated orange rind, optional
1 cup diced dates
1 9-inch baked pie crust

Orange Whipped Cream
1 cup chilled whipping cream
2 tablespoons icing sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon grated orange rind

Mix the cornstarch, sugar and salt together in a medium size sauce pan.  I used a non-stick pot which works very well with custards.  Add the hot milk slowly while stirring.  Place over medium low heat and stir and cook until thickened and bubbles are breaking the surface. 

Beat the egg yolks and slowly pour a little of the hot milk mixture over the yolks while stirring so the eggs will not cook.  This is called tempering the eggs.  Pour the tempered eggs back into the hot milk mixture and combine well.  Return pot to the stove and cook a minute or two to make sure the eggs are fully cooked.  Try to keep the heat low so the mixture does not boil.

Turn heat off and add the vanilla and butter.  Stir through.  Strain the mixture through a sieve to remove any little lumps or cooked egg.  Once the mixture has been strained stir in the orange rind, if using.  Fold in the dates.  Because the mixture is hot the dates will start to break down if stirred too vigorously. 

Cool the filling 5 minutes and then pour into baked pie crust.  Smooth top and cover with plastic wrap.  Lay the wrap on top of the filling to avoid creating a skin on the custard.  (If you do not want to use plastic wrap, parchment paper will make a good substitute as long as it covers the surface of the filling.)

Refrigerate the pie until it is well chilled, about 4 hours or overnight.  Top with Orange Whipped Cream before serving. 

Orange Whipped Cream:   Pour the cream in mixer bowl, add icing sugar, vanilla and orange rind.  Beat on high speed until medium stiff peaks are formed.  Pile onto the top of the pie and swirl to the edges.  A little orange rind may be sprinkled on top for decoration.   The pie can be served immediately or can be refrigerated until ready to serve.

Makes 6-8 servings.



Before you start to make your pie filling, make the pie crust and bake it.  There are two pie crusts on this blog, Tender Pastry and Aunt Amy's No Fail Pie Crust or you can use your favourite recipe or even a store bought crust (if you must).

Make the cream pie filling.  Mix the sugar, cornstarch and salt together in a medium size pot.  Add the hot milk and stir making sure there are no lumps.  Cook and stir over medium heat until bubbles break the surface and the mixture becomes thick.  

Temper the egg yolks by pouring a little of the hot filling into the beaten yolks.  Stir together and pour the eggs back into the pot.  Place the pot back on the burner and let cook a few minutes but don't let the mixture boil.  You don't want to scramble the eggs! Remove from heat and add the butter and vanilla.  

Strain the pudding through a sieve.  As you may be able to see there were a few little lumps and bits of cooked egg that was strained out of the mixture.

If you will be using the orange rind add it now and stir through the hot mixture.  Then fold in the dates.  You don't want mushy dates so go gently into the pudding with your spoon.

Pour the date filling into the baked pie crust and smooth out the top.  Place plastic wrap or parchment paper over the filling and refrigerate until well chilled, about 4 hours.  I left mine overnight.  

When ready to serve whip the cream with orange rind, powdered sugar and vanilla.  Whip to a medium firm peak. 

Pile the cream onto the chilled filling.

Swirl the cream over the top of the pie to the edges and if you want you can sprinkle a little grated orange rind over the cream.

Date Cream Pie with Orange Whipped Cream topping sitting in a baked-to-perfection homemade pie crust.  I had to include this picture because the crust looks so scrummy!

First cut.  Don got that piece.

My piece!  And so began the swift demise of the delectable Date Cream Pie. The picture is a bit blurry.  I think I smeared cream on the camera lense.
 
Calling all date lovers. . . you won't be disappointed!



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