Storified by Arya McLean· Tue, Apr 02 2013 18:19:55
This custard pie infused with orange tree blossoms with a sweet and crunchy top crust of caramelized pine nuts is an alluring and feminine dessert that is an elegant finish to a superb dinner. The flowers of orange trees are used as an ingredient in many Moroccan, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes, particularly for cakes and scones. It is typically used in the form of orange flower water, which is made via a steam distillation process.
In this gourmet cooking recipe, the orange tree blossoms are infused in the milk to make the custard that will fill the pie. The strong floral and citrus taste of the orange blossoms gives an intense flavor and seductive fragrance to the pie that will make your guests weak with desire. A decoction has to be prepared to extract the essence of the orange tree blossoms. To do this method, the petals are mashed and boiled in the milk together with the vanilla pods.
First, you have to gather the blossoms. This is a great recipe to try if you have an orange tree in your garden or live near an orange grove where you can pick flowers (with permission) for free. Only use flowers that have not been treated with chemicals or pesticides. Once you’ve gathered the gorgeous orange blossoms, rinse them in cold water to get rid of any dirt. Discard any rotten or dry material and lay them on a paper towel to dry.
Using a mortar and pestle, crush the petals until you get a thick paste. This will release their essence and make it easier to transfer the strong flavor to the milk or liquid. You can use a cheesecloth or tea bag to wrap the petal paste so it is easier to take out when the decoction is finished. When making this recipe, the piecrust should already be ready beforehand. Either you buy pastry or piecrust or make one at home.