Mar 16, 2011

No Scurvy Dogs Here

When we were looking at the house we now live in, I was excited to see a fig tree and two citrus trees in the yard.  When we moved in and I inspected the trees more closely, I was disappointed to see that none of them had been well cared for.  Sad that they were so neglected and disrespected.  Pretty sure that none of them would produce much of anything.

The fig tree still has a ways to go.  We harvested some last summer, but not much.  I pruned the tree and am hoping that will help.

The citrus trees (a tangerine and a satsuma) are another story.  Last spring when we moved in, I noticed them blooming.  Is there nothing better than the smell of citrus blossoms?  Still, I thought, these trees are in such bad shape.  Then this happened.

And my dad, who has coached me along with my trees (he has 3 of his own), told me "you won't realize just how much fruit you have until they ripen."

I thought, "OK, crazy man.  Whatever you say.  I can see the fruit, you know."

But then orange started popping against the green leaves and I quickly realized what he meant.  The green fruit blends in so well.  But when they ripen...

Well, I knew I had a huge "problem" on my hands.  What was I going to do with all of this fruit?

One thing was for sure.  No scurvy dogs here. 

I bagged up pounds and pounds to give to friends.  Co-workers.  The Boy's fiddle teacher.  Random people on the street.  I'd rather be thought of as crazy than for food to go to waste.

I searched for something to do with the fruit so we wouldn't get bored.  Satsuma Buttermilk Pie jumped out at me from one of my favorite chefs and cookbooks: Real Cajun by Donald Link.  I was excited!  Eager for the fruit to be ripe enough!  I just knew my problem was solved!

Until I set about making the pie several weeks later and realized that one pie would only use a few satsumas.

Whoooosh.  Oh.  Did you hear that?  That was the wind.  Sucked from my sails.

But the pie was good.  Really good.  I's say several.  And I'm not big on fruity dessert.

You'll need:
sugar, flour, eggs, butter, buttermilk, vanilla, satsuma zest and juice, graham cracker pie crust

Very easy.  Whisk the sugar and flour, add eggs one at a time.  Whisk in everything else.  Pour into a prebaked pie shell and bake.
Satsumas...Those four little puppies up there are satsumas.  Sweet, juicy satsumas.  The belle of the ball when it comes to citrus in South Louisiana.  Easy to peel because of their loose skin.  Seedless or almost nearly so.  And they come apart in neat, perfect segments.  They are Japanese in origin and related to mandarin oranges.  Jesuits brought satsumas from Japan to Louisiana in the 18th century, planting groves in Plaquemines Parish, south of New Orleans.  Hundreds of acres are still grown in Plaquemines Parish.  And many backyards around Louisiana (and Texas through Florida) have a tree or two.

I opted to also make Link's homemade graham cracker crust.  It's not difficult and has good flavor.  But my oven is...well...mischievous.  (Yeah, sure.  Blame the oven.)  No matter what I set it to, part way into cooking it decides 450 is really the way to go.  I had some problems with over baked crust, but not because of the recipe.

I like this best served cold from the icebox.

Printer Friendly Recipe

Satsuma Buttermilk Pie
from Real Cajun by Donald Link

1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp AP flour
4 large eggs
4 Tbsp butter, melted
1 cup buttermilk, well shaken
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp finely grated satsuma zest (or orange or tangerine)
3 Tbsp satsuma juice (or orange or tangerine)
1 10" graham cracker pie crust, prebaked

Preheat oven to 300.  Whisk together the sugar and flour, then add the eggs one at a time, until well combined.  Slowly whisk in the melted butter.  Whisk in the buttermilk, vanilla, and zest and juice, and pour into the pie shell.  bake for 30 minutes, or until the mixture is just set.  Serve this pie at room temperature, or chilled, with whipped cream and fresh berries, if desired.

Graham Cracker Pie Crust
from Real Cajun by Donald Link

1/2 cup butter
2 Tbsp light brown sugar
4 Tbsp granulated sugar
2 Tbsp honey
3/4 cup AP flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugars.  Add the honey, flours, salt, and cinnamon, and stir until just combined.  Refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours or up to 1 day in advance.

Preheat the oven to 325.  Use your hands to press the dough into a 9 or 10" pie pan.  Bake about 30 minutes, or until lightly browned.  Cool completely before filling.


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  1. Never had or heard of Satsumas until we moved to Houston TX. I was amazed at the fruit trees growing along side of the streets and asked what they were. Someone told me they were Satsumas. I was never brave enough to pull over and pick some though, LOL.

  2. I've had a bit of a pie craze lately and this recipe sounds a really nice one to try. Thanks for sharing it, I shall be sure to give it a go :)

    I'm also taking part in the Hearth & Soul hop and that's how I found your blog.

  3. This looks fantastic....I love Satsuma Mandarin oranges. Glad I stopped by from H&S hop.

  4. I can't even imagine being able to go in my own backyard and smell the intoxicating smell of citrus. One of my favorite smells around. You're so lucky!
    I'd love this pie with it's creamy consistency and bright citrus flavor. Looks delicious.

    In about month I'll be able to join you. We don't have anything growing here yet, but the farmer's markets open the first of April.

  5. P.S. I wanted to tell you that I went to the store tonight and got the stuff to make the potato and zucchini dish for IHCC. I'm hoping to sneak that zucchini into the kids without them knowing it.

  6. Man I would LOVE having citrus and fig trees in my backyard! My dad has a fig tree and it took time for it to grow to it's full potential. It'll get there!

    This pie sounds delicious! I love fruity desserts.

  7. LOL, Cindy! When we were kids, my mom & dad would take us to pick blackberries on the side of the road. I was embarrassed that someone would see me. Now, I'd do anything to get blackberries.

    Aurelia & Michelle-thanks for stopping by.

    Kim-I remember you mentioning that you loved the smell of citrus. can't wait for you to join in! Hope you like the potato zucchini dish.

    Joanne-I sure hope it gets there! I think the pruning will help.

  8. Interesting! Never heard of satsuma but anything related to mandarin oranges must be good. Thanks for linking-up this week!!

  9. Just stopping by from HearthNSoul and I wanted to invite you to my Iron Chef Challenge which starts tomorrow and the themed ingredient is canned tomatoes. Link up a recipe and you'll have a chance to win a prize. Hope you can join in the fun!!!

  10. What a wonderful pie. It really sounds delicious. I've enjoyed my visit to your blog and will be back often. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  11. Hi MM! Wow what a lucky girl you are! My neighbors have a fig tree in a giant pot they drag in and out of the garage when the weather turns! I had no clue what satsamas were and thanks for enlightening me. As a kid I would visit my grandmother who was a transplant to puerto rico and she had limes growing in her garden and I loved to pick them for her. Would love a citrus tree of my own! this tart looks delicious! I love any type of citrus sweet! Thanks so much for sharing it with the hearth and soul hop. Since heather of girlichef is no longer a host, could you please link back to the hop directly from where you linked up so more folks can join in the fun. Thanks. Alex

  12. Sorry, Alex. I had this post written and ready to go when Heather was participating. Forgot to change the badge. Fixed it!

    Thank you, Mary.

  13. Mary,
    I have to admit I am a bit jealous of your trees - living in IN we only get oranges that have been shipped in. I can imagine the smell - amazing! What a great dessert you have made! Thanks for sharing this with us at the Hearth and Soul Hop!

  14. I think satsumas are the belle of the south as well, I just love cooking with them and buttermilk pies are so wonderful, now you've gone and made one better than I could have imagined... I cannot wait to make this, satsumas are still around here... I'm sure y'all are like us, and get two seasons - thanks for entering and for this amazing recipe

  15. What a great recipe and your photos are fab! Love satsumas and this pie looks heavenly! My Dad has orange trees and I juice the overflow with an electric juicer. With orange juice selling for $6.00 a gallon, it saves us a lot of money.


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